UPDATE [12/13/17, 12:45 p.m. EST]:
Gov. Mark Dayton announced later on Wednesday that Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has been appointed to a one-year term in the Senate, set to conclude in January 2019.
“Tina Smith is a person of the highest integrity and ability,” the governor said. “There is no one I trust more to assume the responsibilities of this important office. I know that she will be a superb Senator, representing the best interests of our state and our citizens.”
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who recently announced his resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations, expressed his support for Smith’s selection, writing that she will make an “excellent” senator in his place, but Franken doesn’t set a departure date.
Franken issues statement on appointment of Tina Smith to his seat, which he hasn’t yet resigned from or set a date to resign ? pic.twitter.com/Fc1DIY7MXr
— Joe Perticone (@JoePerticone) December 13, 2017
Minnesota’s governor is set to replace resigning Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) with Democratic Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith, according to multiple reports.
Gov. Mark Dayton will make the announcement Wednesday morning, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which reports Smith also plans to run for the seat in a 2018 special election.
Smith is a close adviser to Dayton and previously worked as his chief of staff and has also held positions at General Mills and Planned Parenthood. She became lieutenant governor in January 2015.
Franken announced his resignation in a somewhat defiant speech on the Senate floor amid mounting allegations of groping women. The comedian-turned-lawmaker did not offer an apology to his accusers during his address.
“I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator, nothing, has brought dishonor on this institution, and I am confident that the Ethics Committee would agree. Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate,” Franken said.
The senator’s accusers said they were “disappointed” and hurt by his speech. “I guess I’m a little disappointed by his statement. Just that he would continue to dismiss and put the allegations down,” Lindsay Menz, who came forward alleging Franken groped her buttocks in 2010, said following his resignation.