Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D), soon to replace resigning Sen. Al Franken (D) after the latter resigns his seat, is already well on her way to becoming the Democratic nominee for the 2018 special election to fill the seat to which she will be appointed. Minnesota election law calls for an appointment to be made, and then the seat going to special election to allow the people to choose the individual who will serve the balance of the current term. In this case, the 2018 election victor will occupy the Senate seat until the end of 2020 and be eligible to run for a full six-year term in the next regular election (2020).
A day after accepting Gov. Mark Dayton’s (D) appointment and saying publicly that she would run for the seat in 2018, the individuals comprising the Minnesota Democratic congressional delegation all endorsed her efforts. Reps. Tim Walz (D-Mankato), Betty McCollum (D-St. Paul), Collin Peterson (D-Detroit Lakes), and Rick Nolan (D-Crosby/Duluth), all followed Rep. Keith Ellison’s (D-Minneapolis) lead and pledged their support to Senate-Designate Smith. Since Minnesota is a largely a convention state, the entire congressional delegation already being on board to support the new Senator will go a long way to allowing her to easily secure the Democratic nomination in next April’s state convention.
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