Dayton Will Appoint Smith to Replace Franken

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) will appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) to replace Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) as Minnesota’s next U.S. senator until a special election is held next year, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.

Minnesota Public Radio says Smith will run in the special election for the seat in November.

The special election is expected to draw contenders on both sides. Even with Smith’s selection, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) is mulling the race. Former GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is being wooed by Republicans.

Franken’s Exit Could Impact Senate Control After 2018

Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) “seat wasn’t supposed to be up again until 2020. But his resignation Thursday amid allegations of sexual misconduct creates a 2018 special election in Minnesota. And Republicans, who hold a 52-48 majority, are now on the hunt for a top-tier candidate in a politically competitive state where President Trump lost by less than two percentage points last year,” NBC News reports.

“The unexpected opportunity could be a ‘total game-changer in terms of control of the Senate,’ said Republican strategist Alex Conant, a Minnesota native who worked in communications roles for the RNC and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s 2012 presidential campaign. ‘If we field a strong candidate.'”

Daily Beast: Here’s why Democrats forced Al Franken to do the right thing—and why they may come to regret it.

Female Lt. Governor Likely to Replace Franken

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) “is expected to appoint his lieutenant governor and close ally, Tina Smith, to Al Franken’s seat if the Democratic senator resigns on Thursday,” Politico reports.

“But that appointment would be just the start of a huge upheaval in Minnesota.”

“Part of the reason Smith could be heading to the Senate, the sources said, is because she has indicated no interest in running for Congress in the past and would not run for the remainder of Franken’s term, which expires in 2020, in a 2018 special election. That would clear the way for a wide-open Democratic primary next year if Franken steps down.”