According to this Washington Examiner article, Mark Dayton intends on picking Tina Flint-Smith to serve out the remainder of Sen. Franken’s term.

I don’t see that happening because it’s a risky move. If he picks his lieutenant governor to replace Sen. Franken, the President of the Senate would become his lieutenant governor for what’s left of Gov. Dayton’s term. The President of the Senate is Michelle Fischbach, a Republican from Paynesville. That’s a totally safe district for Republicans so there’s virtually no chance for the DFL to flip that Senate seat.

The downside of having a Republican as the lieutenant governor for a DFL governor is that she’d be privy to Gov. Dayton’s decisions. Theoretically, it’s possible for the lieutenant governor to leak sensitive information to the Republicans. And once she’s sworn in, there’s no firing her.

A special election would follow for voters to pick someone to serve for the remainder of Franken’s term, which ends in January 2021.

Another reason why I don’t think it’s likely Flint-Smith will be Gov. Dayton’s pick is because Flint-Smith opted to not run for governor this time.

According to this article, if Gov. Dayton picked her, she’d likely be a caretaker senator:

If he taps Smith as a caretaker senator, Dayton would be giving the job to someone who apparently has no further political ambitions. Smith was Dayton’s chief of staff in his first term, after which he chose her as his second-term running mate. She had previously decided not to run for governor to replace him.

The article names potential DFL candidates, too:

Meanwhile, a variety of party big names would likely consider running for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Franken: U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, who would be the state’s first black senator; two other U.S. representatives, Rep. Betty McCollum and Rep. Rick Nolan; or state Rep. Ilhan Omar, who would become the Senate’s first Somali-American member.

Republicans couldn’t get lucky enough to run against Ellison or Omar. They’ve got more baggage than a DC-10. They’d be fortunate to win 10% of the rural vote. Ditto with Betty McCollum. On the GOP side, people are talking about whether Tim Pawlenty or Norm Coleman would run. I don’t see either of them running, though I could picture Stewart Mills running.

Leave a Reply