Published: Sat, December 16, 2017
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Strive to fill lieutenant governor spot outside of court

Flaten later credited Smith with helping Dennison get a $726,000 grant from the Legislature to replace the unsafe pumps.

Shortly after Tina Smith was named successor to Al Franken, a legal battle erupted over control of the Minnesota Senate - and the state Supreme Court might have to settle it.

That included Rep. Keith Ellison, a powerful force among Democrats even after losing his bid to become national party chairman.

"Though I never anticipated this moment, I am resolved to do everything I can to move Minnesota forward", Smith said in a statement.

Fischbach said she "seriously" doubts that she would support Dayton's agenda, but, "That might not be part of what he asks me to do", Fischbach said. Dan Schoen is resigning over his sexual harassment scandal.

Dayton and Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said they think Fischbach would have to resign from her Senate seat.

"I'm not a lawyer, I'm told by my in-house legal counsel that the Constitution and the state statutes are clear, that the president of the Senate becomes the lieutenant governor and she can not hold two offices simultaneously", Dayton said.

But in Minnesota, some Democrats anxious giving a candidate a head start on a campaign would upset liberal voters and encourage a primary challenge - a costly hurdle given the 10-month sprint to Election Day.

Smith said Wednesday that she helped provide health care and treatment to thousands of women.

Other Republicans have depicted Smith as a "big-city liberal" who's out of touch with the rest of Minnesota.

Few Democratic candidates would have the resources necessary to mount a Senate campaign that will likely need to raise $10 million or more in the next 10 months.

Not surprisingly, Senate Democrats are pushing hard that the constitution requires Fischbach to give up her Senate seat when she takes the lieutenant governor job.

Walz's campaign spokesman Nick Coe said Thursday Walz is backing Smith's 2018 campaign. They have two sons, Sam and Mason, who also live in Minnesota. "Most people understand the need to coalesce behind a candidate early". She also led state officials and agricultural leaders on a trade mission to Cuba in June in an effort to find new markets for Minnesota crops and poultry.

Smith passed up an expected run for governor last spring, raising questions about whether she's prepared for a grueling Senate fight. She plans to keep the position, running for the chance to fill out the last two years of Franken's term in 2018.

And, she'll continue to serve as Senate president, she said. "I have a commitment to represent them in the Senate". It's unclear who the eventual Democratic nominee will face in November, though former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and other Republicans have expressed interest. "There is no one I trust more to assume the responsibilities of this important office". "We're not in the business of trying to dictate who the choice should be".

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