Minnesota Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton announced on Wednesday that Smith, his former chief of staff, would take Franken’s Senate seat for a one-year term. Dayton said a special election for Franken’s seat would take place on Nov. 6, 2018. The move means that Minnesota will have two female senators for the first time in its history, with Smith joining Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar.
“Tina Smith is a person of the highest integrity and ability,” Dayton said in a statement. “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.”
Franken resigned on Dec. 7 amid a growing number of sexual misoconduct allegations and pressure from his Democratic colleagues to step aside. He said in his resignation speech that some of the allegations are “simply not true,” but that their shadow made it difficult for him to focus on his job.
“Though I never anticipated this moment, I am resolved to do everything I can to move Minnesota forward,” Smith said in a statement. “I will be a fierce advocate in the United States Senate for economic opportunity and fairness for all Minnesotans.”
Smith has served as Minnesota’s lieutenant governor since 2015. She was previously the chief of staff for Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback and a vice president for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.