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Franken said last Thursday that he will resign "in the coming weeks", but has not yet set a departure date.

Republicans now control the state Senate by a single vote, and in theory, Fischbach's seat would need to be filled in a special election. Dayton said, "Tina Smith is a person of the highest integrity and ability".

"She genuinely likes people, and people like her", Dayton said of Smith, whose appointment was received with enthusiasm by Sen.

"I think at that point, Franken will renege on his promise, using Moore's election as his excuse Franken can then play the role of hero", conservative talk radio host Lars Larson wrote last week.

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith speaking in St. Paul, Minn., in January 2015.

"Though I never anticipated this moment", Smith told reporters, "I am resolved to do everything I can to move Minnesota forward, and I will be a fierce advocate in the United States Senate for the economic opportunity and fairness".

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Shame on Democratic Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Charles Schumer, et.al., for their precipitate rush to judgment of Senator Al Franken. At least eight women shared stories of him touching them inappropriately without consent during photo-opportunities, on a celebrity tour to military installations overseas or at political events. Smith served as chief of staff to Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak before eventually taking the same job with Dayton in 2011.

She has been a more visible lieutenant governor than her predecessors.

"Anybody who knows the voters of Minnesota knows that they can't be told what to do", Ms. Smith said. Republicans immediately floated former two-term Gov. Tim Pawlenty as a possible candidate, but many others were said to be weighing a race.

Smith plans to continue to work with Franken's staff during the transition. "He's our governor and I'm very proud of him".

Smith, like Franken did in his resignation speech, chose on Wednesday to quote the late Minnesota Sen.

Smith is a native of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has lived in Minnesota since the mid-1980s. A marketing job with General Mills brought her to Minnesota, where she eventually started her own marketing and political consulting firm.


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