Gov. Dayton Names Tina Smith to Replace Sen. Franken
This morning Gov. Mark Dayton named Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill the vacancy left by Sen. Al Franken's resignation from the U.S. Senate. Smith, formerly Gov. Dayton's chief of staff before becoming his Lt. Gov. in 2015, also leads the Destination Medical Center Initiative – a multibillion dollar public-private partnership in Rochester, Minnesota. Her career also includes senior leadership posts for the City of Minneapolis.
State laws and the timing of Sen. Franken's resignation mean Senator-designate Smith will serve through November of 2018, when she will stand for election. If successful next fall, she would also have to run for re-election in 2020 when the seat typically would be up.
Naming Smith creates an interesting situation within the Minnesota State Senate. Per the state Constitution, a departing Lt. Gov. is replaced by the President of the Senate, currently Sen. Michelle Fischbach (R – Paynesville). Given the Senate's current 34-32 Republican majority, this adds an additional legal and political wrinkle to the upcoming legislative session.
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