Mn. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith Will Assume Sen. Al Franken's Seat | Smith Will Run In 2018

CURRENT MINN. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D) WILL BE JOINED BY CURRENT MINN. LT. GOV. TINA SMITH (D), TAPPED BY MINN. GOV. MARK DAYTON TO REPLACE CURRENT SEN. AL FRANKEN, WHO IS RESIGNING. 

CURRENT MINN. SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D) WILL BE JOINED BY CURRENT MINN. LT. GOV. TINA SMITH (D), TAPPED BY MINN. GOV. MARK DAYTON TO REPLACE CURRENT SEN. AL FRANKEN, WHO IS RESIGNING. 

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. 

Six Democratic Women Senators Call On Franken To Resign Immediately

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Six Democratic Women Senators Call On Franken To Resign Immediately

In statements Wednesday, six of Franken's female Democratic colleagues — Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, Patty Murray of Washington and Kamala Harris of California — pushed for him to step down. Murray is the third-ranking Senate Democrat and the highest ranking woman.

We wrote last week that the new accusation from a veteran was totally backing the women into a corner, especially Sen. Gillibrand. I called on Franken to resign that day, because no one person deserves center stage. That may sound unfair, but women have dealt with false accusations for years -- and we know the probability of false accusations varies from 2-8%. When a group of women come forward -- several of them Democrats -- the probability of false accusations dwindles to near zero. 

Sen. Al Franken (D-Mn.) Accused of Groping & Forcible Kissing By Broadcaster Leeann Tweeden

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Sen. Al Franken (D-Mn.) Accused of Groping & Forcible Kissing By Broadcaster Leeann Tweeden

Broadcaster and model Leeann Tweeden said on Thursday that Minnesota Democratic Senator Al Franken "forcibly kissed" and groped her during a 2006 USO tour. Franken has apologized and called for a Senate investigation into his own actions. 

“You knew exactly what you were doing,” Tweeden wrote in a blog post. “You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later and be ashamed.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the Senate Ethics Committee to review the 11-year-old allegations against Franken, who first issued a brief statement of apology, then later a longer one in which he called for an investigation, saying, “I will gladly cooperate.”

Tweeden's 2006 USO tour was the ninth for the Fox Sports Network correspondent and fitness model,writes The Washington Post. Franken was an Air America radio host just months away from announcing his Senate candidacy.