Dayton Picks Lt. Gov. Smith To Replace Sen. Franken

Saturday, 16 Dec, 2017

Gov. Mark Dayton made the announcement that he will appoint Smith on Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Calls to Dayton's, Smith's and Franken's offices were not immediately returned. Franken, who resigned under pressure from his own party after he was accused of improper behavior by at least eight women, announced last Thursday that he would resign "in the coming weeks".

In announcing his appointment Dayton lauded Smith's experience and service to the people of Minnesota.

Smith is a close ally of Governor Dayton. She eventually managed Walter Mondale's unsuccessful 2002 Senate run and Mondale's son Ted Mondale's failed 1998 bid for governor. At this juncture in history, that makes Smith's appointment an important statement about ensuring that women have a strong voice at the nation's capital.

She was vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota from 2003-06, a post that doesn't appear on her official state bio page.

Arne Carlson, a former Minnesota governor and a Republican, said that the Democratic senator should rescind his resignation.

Franken's resignation means both Minnesota U.S. Senate seats will be on next year's ballot.

"Minnesota Republicans look forward to electing a Republican to the U.S. Senate in 2018".

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, left, listens as Steve Vietor, who leads the renewable energy program at Riverland Community College in Albert Lea, points out the college's wind turbine during a tour on February 27, 2017. Smith indicated it would likely be in early January.

She later helped Dayton's successful campaign and became his chief of staff when he won.

Yvonne Prettner Solon served as lieutenant governor in Dayton's first term but declined to seek reelection.

"Tina Smith is a person of the highest integrity and ability", Dayton said. He leaned on her heavily in the 2014 election as a surrogate and in legislative sessions, where she sometimes represented him in end-of-session negotiations - a rare level of responsibility for a lieutenant governor. Dayton was re-elected for a second term with 50 percent of the vote. Amy Klobuchar has attracted one Republican opponent so far, but she remains the odds-on favorite as most polls show her MInnesota's most popular politician. Now, Minnesota Public Radio says she does. Her approach to the job was by design.

Dayton said he listened to the views of many Minnesotans before deciding on Smith.

"I can promise you that I will be working on these issues when I get to Washington, DC, but that will be in January", she said.

Smith is a New Mexico native who originally moved to Minnesota for a job with General Mills.

She served as chief of staff for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback, before managing his failed bid for governor in 2010.

Instead, she'll be running for office for the long haul, according to MPR. Smith told MPR News at the time that she spent several months giving careful consideration to a bid for governor but ultimately decided against it. "There are so many different ways of contributing to the future of this state".