East Grand Forks Sen. Mark Johnson to serve as interim Senate Majority Leader

The news came a day after the former majority leader said he would resign the post, likely to mount a campaign for governor.

010919.N.FNS.MNSESSION Johnson
State Sen. Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, on the Senate floor Jan. 8, 2019, for the start of the 2019 state legislative session. Michael Brun / Forum News Service
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ST. PAUL — Minnesota Senate Deputy Leader Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, is set to step up to fill the position of Senate Majority Leader until the GOP Caucus elects a new head, a party spokeswoman announced on Thursday, Sept. 2.

The news comes a day after former Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-East Gull Lake, announced that he would resign the post after five years. Gazelka said he is mulling a bid for governor and will make public his plans in the coming days.

Johnson could fill the interim leader position as lawmakers return to the Capitol for a special legislative session to decide how the state will allocate $250 million to front-line workers who had to quarantine without pay or became sickened with COVID-19 during the pandemic. It's not yet been determined when Gov. Tim Walz would call a special legislative session to approve the plan.

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email

Dana Ferguson is a Minnesota Capitol Correspondent for Forum News Service. Ferguson has covered state government and political stories since she joined the news service in 2018, reporting on the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the divided Statehouse and the 2020 election.
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