Tina Smith Wins Minnesota Special Election for Franken Seat

Democrat beats a Republican from a hockey family, which means something in Minnesota

Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., will serve out the remaining term of her predecessor, Al Franken. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic-Farmer-Labor Sen. Tina Smith won the special election in Minnesota on Tuesday night, less than a year after she was appointed to the seat. She’ll fill out the remainder of former DFL Sen. Al Franken’s term, which expires in 2020.

With 50 of precincts reporting, Smith led Republican state Sen. Karin Housley 56 percent to 39 percent according to The Associated Press.

Smith consistently led in polling of the race, but national Democrats started spending on her behalf last week, signaling the contest wasn’t completely put away.

Gov. Mark Dayton appointed Smith, then his lieutenant governor, to the seat last December after Franken resigned in wake of sexual assault allegations. That gave Smith, who was sworn in the following month, limited time to introduce herself to voters.

Housley comes from a hockey family, which isn’t politically insignificant in Minnesota. Her husband, Phil, who’s appeared in TV spots with her, is a former professional hockey player and the head coach of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. She tried to make the #MeToo movement an issue in this Senate race, calling Franken seat the “MeToo” seat. She also attacked Smith for being a hypocrite for opposing Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh’s nomination by standing by DFL Rep. Keith Ellison’s campaign for attorney general, despite him facing allegations of domestic abuse.

Watch: ‘Pretty Stoked to be Voting’— Voters Around the Beltway Share Their Election-Day Thoughts


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