Democratic sources: Smith to replace Franken

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A Democratic operative with knowledge of the appointment says Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has chosen Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill Sen. Al Franken’s seat until the November election — and Smith will run in that election to complete Franken’s term through 2020.

The operative spoke on condition of anonymity because the operative wasn’t authorized to speak ahead of an official announcement, scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. Paul.

A senior Democratic aide in the Senate also confirmed Smith as the appointee, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person wasn’t authorized to talk publicly ahead of the announcement.

Smith was Dayton’s chief of staff before she ascended to become his running mate in the 2014 election. She was the presumed front-runner from the moment Franken announced last week he would step down over allegations of sexual misconduct.

He hasn’t yet set a date to leave Congress.

Minnesota Public Radio and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, citing Democratic sources they did not name, also reported that Smith was the choice.

Associated Press writer Kyle Potter in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Alan Fram in Washington, D.C., contributed to this item.