Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton appointed fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. Tina Smith on Wednesday to replace Sen. Al Franken until a special election in November. Smith, who previously said she was not interested in a permanent Senate seat, has reversed her decision and will run in a potentially bruising 2018 election.
“I will run in that election and I will do my best to earn Minnesotans’ support,” she said at the news conference where Dayton announced her appointment.
Franken, who resigned under pressure from fellow Democrats after he was accused of improper behavior by at least eight women, announced last Thursday that he would resign “in the coming weeks.” His office said Tuesday that he had not yet set a final departure date.
A native of New Mexico, Smith graduated from Stanford and earned an MBA from Dartmouth. She moved to Minn. for a marketing job with General Mills and eventually started her own marketing and political consulting firm.
Smith has served as an executive for Planned Parenthood, certain to be a flash point with her Republican candidate. Her position will simultaneously solidify her support among Democratic women.