Minnesota Senate Race

National Democrats Invest in Minnesota Senate Race
DSCC makes six-figure independent expenditure for Sen. Tina Smith

Minnesota DFL Sen. Tina Smith, here at an early voting rally September at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, is running to fill out former DFL Sen. Al Franken’s term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is making a six-figure independent expenditure for Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith — its first investment in a race that’s long leaned in the Democrats’ favor. 

Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, has also invested $400,000 in mail and digital advertising in the race. 

As Early Voting Begins, A Look at Minnesota's Uber-Competitive House Races
 

Tim Pawlenty Not Running for Senate in Minnesota
Republicans saw him as strongest recruit to take on Tina Smith in November

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty will not run for Senate in 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty said Tuesday he will not run in November’s special election for Senate.

“I am very interested in public service and service for the common good — there are a lot of different ways to do that — but I’ll tell you today running for the United States Senate in 2018 won’t be part of those plans,” Pawlenty told Fox Business. 

At the Races: Escape Hatch
2018 is here, and more senior Republicans are heading for the exits

The Senate is losing a longtime member — and a songwriter. Utah GOP Sen. Orrin G. Hatch is known for his compositions. His song “Souls Along the Way,” written about the late Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy and Kennedy’s wife, was included on the “Ocean’s Twelve” movie soundtrack. Hatch and Kennedy worked together on major health care legislation, and the pair were good friends. (Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly file photo)

You can keep track of House and Senate races with this weekly newsletter. (If you didn’t get it in your inbox, *subscribe here.*) We want to hear what you think. Send us your questions, tips or candidate sightings. — Simone Pathé and Bridget Bowman.This week … 2018 has arrived! Three Republicans announced their retirement, two Senate Democrats arrived and Steve Bannon put some conservative candidates in a tight spot.

Hatch Heads for the Exit: Utah Republican Orrin G. Hatch ended months of speculation Tuesday by announcing he was retiring after seven terms in the Senate. That opens the door for former presidential nominee/Massachusetts governor/Trump critic/skillful ironer Mitt Romney to run for Hatch’s seat. So is he running? It’s widely believed he will, but Romney has yet to officially say so. He did casually change his location on Twitter from Massachusetts to Utah following Hatch’s announcement. #WeSeeWhatYouDidThere.

EMILY’s List Endorses Minnesota’s Tina Smith
Democratic PAC will connect her with national donor network

Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, seen here with family members at her mock swearing-in ceremony Wednesday, has earned the endorsement of EMILY’s List. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

A day after being sworn into the Senate, Minnesota’s Tina Smith picked up the endorsement of EMILY’s List on Thursday for the November special election.

The political action committee, which backs female Democratic candidates who support abortion rights, will work with Smith’s campaign in an advisory role and introduce her to its national donor network.

Minnesota Governor to Announce Senate Appointment Wednesday
Senator Al Franken still hasn’t said when he’s resigning

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, seen here leaving the Capitol on Dec. 7 with his wife, Franni, after announcing he’d resign last week, hasn’t set a date for his resignation. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday will announce his selection to fill the seat of Sen. Al Franken, who has yet to set a date for his resignation. 

Dayton has been expected to appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, his former chief of staff, to the seat. She’d have the option of running next fall to fill out the rest of Franken’s term, which is up in 2021.