Skip to main content Skip to office menu Skip to footer
Capital IconMinnesota Legislature
Skip Navigation Links > >

President and President Pro Tempore of the Minnesota Senate, 1849-present

Compiled by the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library

Compiled from Minnesota legislative manuals and other sources, including previous library compilations and several histories of Minnesota. Citations to "Toensing" refer to W.F. Toensing, Minnesota Congressmen, Legislators, and Other Elected State Officials: An Alphabetical Check List, 1849-1971 (Minnesota Historical Society, 1971). Where a name or party designation is not given in the list, it was not given authoritatively in the sources so far consulted. It may be available from other sources. While efforts have been made to verify this information in more than one source, the library cannot guarantee the accuracy of sources; errors are possible. Please report any errors to the library staff.

The Minnesota Constitution, Article IV, Section 5 states, “The last elected presiding officer of the senate shall become lieutenant governor in case a vacancy occurs in that office.”  Notes about the instances when that has occurred are included in the table below.  For more extensive details, see, Presiding Officers of the Senate who became Lieutenant Governor.  

President of the Senate and President Pro Tem - 1972-present

From statehood through 1972, the Lieutenant Governor served as President of the Senate (see table below). In 1972, the Minnesota Constitution was amended (see ballot question in 1971 Laws of Minnesota, Chapter 958) and the Senate elected the President of the Senate from among its ranks. And, from 1973 to 1979 "In the absence of the President, the Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Administration, or his designee, shall preside over the Senate..." (Permanent Rules of the Senate). The position of Senate President, elected at the beginning of the odd year session, is usually held for the full biennium. Changes made during the biennium are noted. President Pro Tem information is incomplete and work is in progress.


Champion, Bobby Joe

Sen. Champion was named nominee for President of the Senate by the DFL caucus on November 10, 2022.


Osmek, David J.

Sen. Osmek was elected Senate president on January 31, 2022.

R Tomassoni, David J. "Dave" Independent-No Party Affiliation

Miller, Jeremy R.

On January 5, 2021, Sen. Miller was named "Acting President of the Senate". On January 7, 2021, Sen. Miller was elected President of the Senate. Sen. Miller resigned as President of the Senate, effective January 30, 2022.

R Tomassoni, David J. "Dave" Independent-No Party Affiliation

Tomassoni, David J. "Dave"

On November 12, 2020, during the 6th Special Session, Sen. Tomassoni was elected President of the Senate for the remainder of the Ninety-First Legislature.

DFL Kiffmeyer, Mary R
2019 Miller, Jeremy R. R Kiffmeyer, Mary R
2017 Fischbach, Michelle L. R Limmer, Warren E. R
2015 Pappas, Sandra "Sandy" L. DFL Rest, Ann H. DFL
2013 Pappas, Sandra "Sandy" L. DFL Rest, Ann H. DFL
2011 Fischbach, Michelle L. R Olson, Gen R
2009 Metzen, James DFL Frederickson, Dennis R
2007 Metzen, James DFL Frederickson, Dennis R
2005 Metzen, James DFL Pappas, Sandra L. DFL
2003 Metzen, James DFL Pappas, Sandra L. DFL
2001 Samuelson, Don DFL Moe, Roger D. DFL
1999 Spear, Allan H. DFL Moe, Roger D. DFL
1997 Spear, Allan H. DFL Moe, Roger D. DFL
1996 Spear, Allan H. DFL Moe, Roger D. DFL
1995 Spear, Allan H. DFL Chmielewski, Sr., Florian W. DFL
1993E Spear, Allan H. DFL
1993 Spear, Allan H. DFL Chmielewski, Sr., Florian W. DFL
1991 Hughes, Jerome M. DFL Chmielewski, Sr., Florian W.(DFL); Majority President Pro Tem: Spear, Allan H.(DFL); Minority President Pro Tem: Renneke, Earl W.(IR)
1989E Hughes, Jerome M. DFL
1989 Hughes, Jerome M. DFL
1987E Chmielewski, Sr., Florian W.; Hughes absent DFL
1987 Hughes, Jerome M. DFL
1986E Hughes, Jerome M. DFL
1985E Hughes, Jerome M. DFL
1985 Hughes, Jerome M. DFL
1983 Hughes, Jerome M. DFL Permanent Rules of the Senate again specify that in the absence of the president, the chair of the Committee on Rules and Administration, or his designee, shall preside.
1982E3 Davies, Jack (John T.) DFL
1982E2 Davies, Jack (John T.) DFL
1982E Davies, Jack (John T.) DFL
1981E3 Davies, Jack (John T.) DFL
1981E2 Davies, Jack (John T.) DFL
1981E Davies, Jack (John T.) DFL
1981 Davies, Jack (John T.) DFL Hughes, Jerome M. (office reestablished; see Senate Journal, 6 Jan. 1981, and Permanent Rules of the Senate) DFL
1979E Gearty, Edward J. DFL
1979 Gearty, Edward J. DFL
1977 Gearty, Edward J. DFL

Olson, Alec G.

Senator Alec Olson became lieutenant governor after Rudy Perpich became governor when Wendell Anderson resigned the governorship to become a United States senator. The United States senate seat opened when Walter Mondale resigned to take office as Vice President. Sen. Olson resigned from the Minnesota Legislature on December 29, 1976 and became Minnesota's lieutenant governor on the same day. 

1973 Olson, Alec G. DFL

Lieutenant Governor / President of the Senate and President Pro Tem - 1849-1971

Before the 1972 changes to the state constitution outlined above, the Lieutenant Governor served as the President of the Senate and presided over floor sessions. 

67th Legislature (1971 - 1972) 1971E Perpich, Rudy (DFL)
1971 Perpich, Rudy (DFL) Josefson, J. A. ("Joe") (R/C)
66th Legislature (1969 - 1970) 1969 Goetz, James B. (R) Franz, Walter J. (R/C)
65th Legislature (1967 - 1968) 1967E Goetz, James B. (R)
1967 Goetz, James B. (R) Anderson, Ernest J. (R/C)
64th Legislature (1965 - 1966) 1966E Keith, A. M. (Alexander MacDonald) (D)
1965 Keith, A. M. (Alexander MacDonald) (D) Sinclair, Donald (C)
63rd Legislature (1963 - 1964) 1963 Keith, A. M. (Alexander MacDonald) (D) Rosenmeier, Gordon (C)
62nd Legislature (1961 - 1962) 1961E2 Rolvaag, Karl F. (D)
1961E Rolvaag, Karl F. (D)
1961 Rolvaag, Karl F. (D) Larson, Norman J. (R)
61st Legislature (1959 - 1960) 1959E Rolvaag, Karl F. (D)
1959 Rolvaag, Karl F. (D) Wahlstrand, Harry L. (C)
60th Legislature (1957 - 1958) 1958E Rolvaag, Karl F. (D)
1957E Rolvaag, Karl F. (D)
1957 Rolvaag, Karl F. (D) Welch, Thomas P. (R/C)
59th Legislature (1955 - 1956) 1955E Rolvaag, Karl F. (D)
1955 Rolvaag, Karl F. (D) Imm, Val (R/C)
58th Legislature (1953 - 1954) 1953 Nelsen, Ancher (R) Wright, Donald O. (R/C) [served as Lt. Governor 9/3/1954 to 1/3/1955]

Lt. Governor Ancher Nelsen resigned on May 1, 1953 to become the head of the U.S. Rural Electrification Administration. It wasn't until September 3, 1954 that Senator Donald O. Wright was sworn in as Lt. Governor. He served until January 3, 1955. From the time Sen. Wright was sworn in as lieutenant governor, the Senate never met in session. Governor Orville Freeman and Lt. Governor Karl Rolvaag were elected to their respective offices in the 1954 election and took office in January 1955. Sen. Wright ran for and won re-election to his senate seat in the 1954 election, taking office again as a state senator in January 1955.

57th Legislature (1951 - 1952) 1951E Anderson, C. Elmer (R)
1951 Anderson, C. Elmer (R) Sletvold, Albert O. (C?)
56th Legislature (1949 - 1950) 1949 Anderson, C. Elmer (R) Mullin, Gerald T. (D?/C?)
55th Legislature (1947 - 1948) 1947 Anderson, C. Elmer (R) Lightner, Milton C. (R/C)
54th Legislature (1945 - 1946) 1945 Anderson, C. Elmer (R) Weber, J. V. (R/C)
53rd Legislature (1943 - 1944) 1944E Miller, Archie H. (C)

Governor Harold Stassen resigned on April 27, 1943 elevating Lt. Governor Edward Thye to governor.  As President Pro Tem, Senator Archie Miller became lieutenant governor; he was sworn in on May 6, 1943 and resigned from the Senate on May 10.  The Senate met just once, in a four-day special session that began on March 8, 1944, during Lt. Governor Archie Miller’s tenure.  He served as the presiding officer and did not participate as a senator. He pursued running for lieutenant governor in the 1944 general election but the Minnesota Supreme Court determined in April 1944 that he was ineligible to run for that position.  The primary reason was because the Legislature had raised the pay of the governor, the lieutenant governor, and legislators; members of both houses were barred from running for governor or lieutenant governor in the upcoming election.  Instead, Archie Miller ran in a special election in November 1944 for the seat he had resigned from.  He won and returned to the Senate in January 1945.

1943 Thye, Edward J. (R) Miller, Archie H. (C) [served as Lt. Gov. 5/6/1943 to 1/2/1945]
52nd Legislature (1941 - 1942) 1941 Anderson, C. Elmer (R) Carley, James A. (D)
51st Legislature (1939 - 1940) 1939 Anderson, C. Elmer (R) Larson, Henry A. (R)
50th Legislature (1937 - 1938) 1937E Lindsten, Gottfrid T. (FL)
1937 Lindsten, Gottfrid T. (FL) Richardson, William B. (R)

On the first day of session, the Journal of the Senate states: "Due to illness, the Lieutenant-Governor-Elect Gottfried [sic] Lindsten was unable to assume the duties of his office." Senator William B. Richardson (President Pro Tem) was nominated and elected to "temporarily preside." Sen. Richardson apparently presided for the entire session. Sen. Richardson is referred to as President (without "Pro Tem") of the senate in some places in the 1937 Journal of the Senate.

49th Legislature (1935 - 1936) 1936E Richardson, William B. (R)

According to the Minnesota Historical Society, William B. Richardson served as “acting lieutenant governor” from August 24, 1936 to January 1, 1937.  Richardson was never sworn in as lieutenant governor. He was president pro tem of the Senate and became acting lieutenant governor when Governor Floyd B. Olson died and Lt. Governor Hjalmar Petersen became governor. Various newspaper articles from that time period refer to Richardson as “president of the state senate and prospective lieutenant governor” (August 24, 1936); “senate president” and “president pro tem” in the same article (August 24, 1936); “Acting Lieutenant Governor” (December 18, 1936); and as presiding over the senate as “Lieutenant Governor William B. Richardson” (December 18, 1936). When the Senate convened for the extra session on December 17, 1936, it was called to order by the “President of the Senate, Mr. William B. Richardson.” The table of contents for the extra session lists William B. Richardson as “President Pro Tempore.” Normally, a “Lieutenant Governor” is listed in addition to the “President Pro Tempore.” William B. Richardson voted as a member of the senate throughout this extra session.

1935E Petersen, Hjalmar (FL) Richardson, William B. (R)
1935 Petersen, Hjalmar (FL) Richardson, William B. (R)
48th Legislature (1933 - 1934) 1933E Solberg, Konrad K. (FL)
1933 Solberg, Konrad K. (FL) Widell, Gustaf (U)
47th Legislature (1931 - 1932) 1931 Arens, Henry (FL) Larson, Adolph S. (R)
46th Legislature (1929 - 1930) 1929 Nolan, William I. (R) Adams, Charles E. [served as Lt. Gov. 6/25/1929 to 1/6/1931]

Lt. Governor William Nolan resigned in June 1929 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in a special election. Senator Charles E. Adams served as lieutenant governor from June 25, 1929 to January 6, 1931. While Sen. Adams served as lieutenant governor, the senate never met in session. Governor Floyd B. Olson and Lt. Governor Henry M. Arens were elected to their respective offices in the 1930 election and took office in January 1931. Sen. Adams ran for and won re-election to his senate seat in the 1930 election, taking office again as a state senator in January 1931.

45th Legislature (1927 - 1928) 1927 Nolan, William I. (R) Sullivan, John D.
4th Legislature (1925 - 1926) 1925 Nolan, William I. (R) Rockne, Anton J. (R)
43rd Legislature (1923 - 1924) 1923 Collins, Louis L. (R) Orr, Charles N. (R)
42nd Legislature (1921 - 1922) 1921 Collins, Louis L. (R) Putnam, Frank E.; Sageng, Ole O.
41st Legislature (1919 - 1920) 1919E Frankson, Thomas (R)
1919 Frankson, Thomas (R)
40th Legislature (1917 - 1918) 1917 Frankson, Thomas (R)
39th Legislature (1915 - 1916) 1916E Sullivan, George H. (R)

On December 30, 1915, Governor Hammond died in office. Lt. Governor J.A.A. Burnquist became Governor upon his death. We note Sen. George H. Sullivan as Lt. Governor starting on October 28, 1916. However, the newspapers call Sen. Sullivan “Lieutenant Governor” as early as January 1916 (in describing the funeral procession of Gov. Hammond, etc.). An article from October 29, 1916 states that during the October 28 one-day special session, Sullivan was sworn in as lieutenant governor, marking his “official ascendancy” to the post.  

1915 Burnquist, Joseph A. A. (R)
38th Legislature (1913 - 1914) 1913 Burnquist, Joseph A. A. (R)
37th Legislature (1911 - 1912) 1912E Gordon, Samuel Y.
1911 Gordon, Samuel Y. (R)
36th Legislature (1909 - 1910) 1909 Eberhart, Adolph O. (R) Smith, Edward E.[served as Lt. Gov. 1909? 1910? to 1/3/1911]

When Governor John A. Johnson died on September 21, 1909, Lt. Governor A.O. Eberhart became governor and Senator Edward Smith became lieutenant governor, according to the Minnesota Historical Society. Sources vary as to when he was sworn in. A Minneapolis Tribune article from 1910 states that he was "quietly" sworn in that spring; he hadn’t taken the oath yet, thinking it unnecessary. The paper goes on: “The lieutenant governor now either holds the double position of lieutenant governor and state senator – or if the one merges into the other, his district is without a legal representative.” However, the Legislature did not meet between April 22, 1909 and January 3, 1911.

35th Legislature (1907 - 1908) 1907 Eberhart, Adolph O. (R) Smith, Edward E. (R)
34th Legislature (1905 - 1906) 1905 Jones, Ray W. (R) Thompson, Richard E. (Richard Enos) (R)
33rd Legislature (1903 - 1904) 1903 Jones, Ray W. (R) Thompson, Richard E. (Richard Enos) (R)
32nd Legislature (1901 - 1902) 1902E Smith, Lyndon A. (R)
1901 Smith, Lyndon A. (R) Stockton, Albert W. (Albert William) (R)
31st Legislature (1899 - 1900) 1899 Gibbs, John L. (R) Stockton, Albert W. (Albert William) (R)
30th Legislature (1897 - 1898) 1897 Gibbs, John L. (R) Barr, George T. (R)
29th Legislature (1895 - 1896) 1895 Clough, David M. (R) Day, Frank A. (R) [served as Lt.Gov 1/31/1895 to 1/5/1897]

Lt. Governor David Marston Clough became governor on January 31, 1895 when Governor Knute Nelson resigned to take a seat in the U.S. Senate. Senator Frank A. Day served as lieutenant governor from January 31, 1895 to January 5, 1897. While Sen. Day served as lieutenant governor, the Senate met in session from January 8, 1895 to April 23, 1895. According to an 1898 Minnesota Supreme Court case, Sen. Day acted as lieutenant governor while also acting and voting as a senator “with the tacit approval, at least, of the senate.” Governor David M. Clough and Lt. Governor John L. Gibbs were elected to their respective offices in the 1896 election and took office in January 1897. Sen. Day ran for U.S. Congress in the 1896 election. It was presumed that by running for that office he ceased to be the state senator. He did not win election to Congress. When the legislature reconvened in 1897, both Sen. Day and Sen. Dunn, the latter of whom had been elected to fill Sen. Day’s seat in a special election in November 1896, claimed the senate seat. Sen. Day is initially listed in the Journal of the Senate as holding the contested seat until a determination was made by the Senate on January 23, 1897 that Sen. Dunn had been duly elected and was entitled to the seat. Sen. Dunn took the oath of office on January 26, 1897.

28th Legislature (1893 - 1894) 1893 Clough, David M. (R) Sanborn, John B. (W,R)
27th Legislature (1891 - 1892) 1891 Ives, Gideon S. (R) Sanborn, John B. (W,R)
26th Legislature (1889 - 1890) 1889 Rice, Albert E. (R) Ives, Gideon S. (R)
25th Legislature (1887 - 1888) 1887 Rice, Albert E. (R) Buckman, Clarence B. (R)
24th Legislature (1885 - 1886) 1885 Gilman, Charles A. (R)
23rd Legislature (1883 - 1884) 1883 Gilman, Charles A. (R) Goodrich, Daniel F. (R)
22nd Legislature (1881 - 1882) 1881E Gilman, Charles A. (R)
1881 Gilman, Charles A. Wilson, Horace B. (R)
21st Legislature (1879 - 1880) 1879 Wakefield, James B. (R)
20th Legislature (1878) 1878 Wakefield, James B. (R) Edgerton, Alonzo J. (R)
19th Legislature (1877) 1877 Wakefield, James B. (R) Daniels, John V. (R)
18th Legislature (1876) 1876 Wakefield, James B. (R) Meighen, William
17th Legislature (1875) 1875 Barto, Alphonso (R)
16th Legislature (1874) 1874 Barto, Alphonso (R)
15th Legislature (1873) 1873 Yale, William H. (R)
14th Legislature (1872) 1872 Yale, William H. (R)
13th Legislature (1871) 1871 Yale, William H. (R)
12th Legislature (1870) 1870 Yale, William H. (R)
11th Legislature (1869) 1869 Armstrong, Thomas H. (R)
10th Legislature (1868) 1868 Armstrong, Thomas H. (R)
9th Legislature (1867) 1867 Armstrong, Thomas H. (R)
8th Legislature (1866) 1866 Armstrong, Thomas H. (R)
7th Legislature (1865) 1865 Sherwood, Charles D. (R)
6th Legislature (1864) 1864 Sherwood, Charles D. (R)
5th Legislature (1863) 1863 Donnelly, Ignatius (R) Swift, Henry A. (R) [served as Lt. Governor from 3/4/1863 to 7/10/1863]

Lt. Governor Ignatius Donnelly resigned on March 3, 1863 to take a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Senator Henry A. Swift subsequently served briefly as lieutenant governor until July 10, 1863, and then became governor when Governor Ramsey resigned to take a seat in the U.S. Senate. Though the Journal of the Senate notes Sen. Swift occasionally convening the senate in his capacity as president pro tem during the early parts of the 1863 session, the Journal states he was “duly elected” president pro tem on March 5, 1863. The Minnesota Historical Society lists his term as lieutenant governor beginning March 4, 1863. During the last few days of the legislative session, the Journal of the Senate records Sen. Swift voting on bills.

4th Legislature (1862) 1862E Donnelly, Ignatius (R)
1862 Donnelly, Ignatius (R)
3rd Legislature (1861) 1861 Donnelly, Ignatius (R)
2nd Legislature (1859 - 1860) 1860 Donnelly, Ignatius (P/R)
1859 Holcombe, William; to January 2, 1860. (D)
1st Legislature (1857 - 1858) 1858 Holcombe, William (D)
1857/58 Murphy, Richard G.; until June 3, 1858
8th Territorial Legislature (1857) 1857E Brisbin, John B.
1857 Brisbin, John B.
7th Territorial Legislature (1856) 1856 Brisbin, John B.
6th Territorial Legislature (1855) 1855 Murray, William P.
5th Territorial Legislature (1854) 1854 Olmstead, S. Baldwin
4th Territorial Legislature (1853) 1853 McLeod, Martin
3rd Territorial Legislature (1852) 1852 Forbes, William H.
2nd Territorial Legislature (1851) 1851 Loomis, David B.
1st Territorial Legislature 1849 Olmsted, David

Party abbreviations key: A = Alliance, C = Conservative, D = Democrat, DFL = Democratic-Farmer-Labor, E = Extra Session, FL = Farmer-Labor, IR = Independent-Republican, L = Liberal, P = Populist, R = Republican, W = Whig