Feb 6, 2024 - News

Minnesota Senate Democrats pick Erin Murphy as next majority leader

Sen. Erin Murphy surrounded by other members of the Senate.

Sen. Erin Murphy, center, at a news conference announcing her election.. Photo: Torey Van Oot

Minnesota Senate Democrats selected Sen. Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) Tuesday as the next majority leader.

Why it matters: Democrats have full control of state government. But their ability to pass significant legislation hinges on Murphy's ability to unite an ideologically diverse caucus.

  • With a one-vote majority, she'll have no members to spare on many bills.

Context: Murphy succeeds Sen. Kari Dziedzic (DFL-Minneapolis), who announced on Friday that she planned to step down from her leadership post due to a recurrence of cancer.

What she's saying: Murphy declined to take questions at Tuesday's news conference announcing her election. In a brief statement, she said the caucus owes Dziedzic an "amazing debt of gratitude" for her leadership in the first year of the DFL trifecta.

  • "She showed us that if we choose to stick together and act together, we can do important things for people of Minnesota to improve their lives," she said. "And we together are committed to the same thing."

Zoom in: Murphy, a former majority leader in the House, ran for governor in 2018.

  • She won the DFL endorsement, but lost to Gov. Tim Walz in the August primary.
  • The St. Paul Democrat, who is also a nurse, returned to the Capitol as a senator in 2020. As the caucus campaign chair, she was seen as one of the architects of Democrats' successful effort to win back the majority in 2022.

What's next: The legislative session starts Monday.

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