Confirming the previous day’s speculative reports, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) announced yesterday from the Senate floor that he will resign “in the next several weeks.” Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is now tasked with appointing a successor. Early speculation suggested that he will choose Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) and name her immediately, but the Governor said yesterday that he would make the decision in the “next few days.”
The seat will now come before the voters in 2018 to fill the remaining two years of the term Sen. Franken was elected to in 2014. The winner of the ’18 special will then be eligible to seek a full six-year term in 2020. Early reports also suggested that if Ms. Smith is appointed, she would only serve as a caretaker, retiring after the special election chooses a permanent replacement. Both parties will effectively nominate their candidates in convention. Already, Republicans are mentioning former Gov. Tim Pawlenty as a potential Senate candidate.
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