ST. PAUL (AP) — Two veteran state senators from the Iron Range have broken with other Democrats to form their own independent caucus in a closely divided legislative chamber.

Sens. Tom Bakk, of Cook, and David Tomassoni, of Chisholm, said in a statement that they've left the Senate Democratic Caucus to start a caucus for moderates. They say it will also focus on the economic interests of northern Minnesota. They expect to become committee chairs.

The split will give Republicans a bit more breathing room heading into a 2021 session where they were facing a one-seat majority.

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