Meet Tina Smith: The Minnesotan Picked to Replace Al Franken Meet Tina Smith: The Minnesotan Picked to Replace Al Franken – NTK Network

Meet Tina Smith: The Minnesotan Picked to Replace Al Franken

The Democrat is the lieutenant governor of the state and a former VP for Planned Parenthood.

By NTK Staff | 12.13.2017 @1:30pm
Meet Tina Smith: The Minnesotan Picked to Replace Al Franken

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) announced last week that he would resign “in the coming weeks,” and on Wednesday Gov. Mark Dayton (D-MN) announced he would appoint his lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, to replace Franken when the former comedian steps down.

Smith, who has served as lieutenant governor since 2015, served as Dayton’s chief of staff prior to being promoted to her current role. She worked as a vice president of external affairs for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. She also served as a marketing manager for General Mills.

Smith is widely expected to not only serve out the remainder of Franken’s term until a special election is held in 2018, but to run for the office in her own right in 2020.

Smith, 59, was widely regarded as a likely choice to fill Franken’s seat temporarily. But the news that she plans to run in the special election, and hold the seat past 2019, is a surprise: As NPR’s Domenico Montanaro has reported, she was anticipated to be a “caretaker senator,” only occupying the seat until the election can be held.

That decision could backfire on Smith and other top Minnesota Democrats. NPR explains why:

This is a state with a very active liberal base. Bernie Sanders, for example, won this state in the presidential primary with more than 60 percent of the vote.

There’s the very real possibility that a top-down pick could infuriate the base, doom the appointed senator, set off an ugly primary and harm the party’s chances of holding the seat.

Smith could be in for a bumpy ride if her fellow Minnesota Democrats don’t think she’s up to snuff.

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