Reporters Are Leaking Al Franken’s Potential Senate Replacement In Minnesota

Alabama Democrat (!) Doug Jones won’t be the only new face on Capitol Hill this winter. Last week, Minnesota junior senator and former SNL writer/cast member Al Franken announced that he’d soon resign from the U.S. Senate after allegations of sexual misconduct toward eight women came to light. (Franken delivered a sorry-not-sorry resignation speech, pointing out that he was quitting “while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office.”)

But that’s all in the past; let’s look to the future. Speculation has been running wild, at least in Minnesota political circles, about who would replace Franken in the Senate. State law allows for the governor to pick Franken’s replacement in advance of a special election. Who would Gov. Mark Dayton appoint? As he’s a Democrat, and voters elected the democratic Franken to serve, probably a Democrat.

That rumor has been confirmed. On Wednesday, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota’s biggest newspaper, reported that Dayton has named the state’s lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate.

“Tina Smith is a person of the highest integrity and ability,” Dayton said via an official statement. “There is no one I trust more to assume the responsibilities of this important office. I know that she will be a superb Senator, representing the best interests of our state and our citizens.”

Smith has a solid political background that well prepares her for the Senate. She served as Dayton’s chief of staff in 2010 before her promotion to second-in-command of Minnesota in 2015. She’ll be a senator at least until next year, at which point a special election will be held for someone to serve the remainder of Franken’s term, which ends in 2020. Smith has already promised to run in that election.

“Though I never anticipated this moment, I am resolved to do everything I can to move Minnesota forward,” Smith said. “I will be a fierce advocate in the United States Senate for economic opportunity and fairness for all Minnesotans.”

Minnesota is now part of a very cool and unfortunately very small club: The Two Female Senators Club. Other states with two women in the country’s highest legislative chamber: California, Washington, and New Hampshire.

Smith’s colleagues and supporters wished her well on social media.