Tags: tina smith | al franken | minnesota

Franken's Replacement Aims to Hold Seat for Democrats in 2018

Image: Franken's Replacement Aims to Hold Seat for Democrats in 2018

Tina Smith (Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 01 January 2018 10:19 AM

Tina Smith, who has been appointed to replace Al Franken, D-Minn., in the Senate, is the favorite to win the seat in a special election, and has virtually unanimous support from her party, The Hill reports.

Smith, Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, has a “different temperament” from Franken, Steven Scheier, Carleton College political science professor, said in The Hill.

“Al Franken is an outspoken partisan who really endeared himself to his own party’s base, but had limited relations with members of the opposition party. Tina Smith is very different. She’s been a policy leader for Gov. (Mark) Dayton, centrally involved in negotiations with Republican leaders in the legislature,” Scheier said in The Hill.

Minnesota Democrats saw Smith as a caretaker for Franken’s seat, but some observers were surprised when she announced plans to run in the 2018 special election, which would allow her to fill the position through the 2020 election, The Hill reported.

“It is up to Minnesotans to decide for themselves who they want to complete Sen. Franken’s term… I will do my best to earn Minnesotans’ support,” Smith said in a December press conference, The Hill reported.

Minnesota Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison and Tim Walz, both said they would support Smith in the special election.

The Hill reported that Republicans are showing some optimism about winning the seat, after President Donald Trump made a strong showing in the state in the 2016 election, coming within 1.5 points of Hillary Clinton.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is a possible challenger who would give Smith her toughest opposition, the report said.

Smith’s electoral experience is an issue, Scheier said. “She’s unproven. She’s only run once and that was on a ticket with Dayton, so we don’t know what Minnesotans will think of her and how well she will run,” Scheier said in The Hill.

On Dec. 29, Franken said he would continue working on issues despite his exit from the Senate. “I may be leaving the Senate, but I’m not giving up my voice,” he said, NBC News reports.

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Tina Smith, who has been appointed to replace Al Franken, D-Minn., in the Senate, is the favorite to win the seat in a special election, and has virtually unanimous support from her party, The Hill reports.
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2018-19-01
Monday, 01 January 2018 10:19 AM
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