Gov. Mark Dayton (D) on Wednesday named his lieutenant governor as Minnesota’s replacement for resigning Sen. Al Franken (D).
“She genuinely likes people, and people like her,” he said of Tina Smith during a press conference, according to Politico.
“She has impeccable integrity and the highest personal and professional standards,” Dayton added.
Dayton confirmed that he spoke with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) about his appointment of Smith.
The governor also noted Schumer did not press him on who to appoint as Franken’s replacement or whether or not that person should campaign for the same seat next year.
Smith said she plans on running in November 2018 to finish the final two years of Franken’s term.
“I will run in that election, and I will do my best to earn Minnesotans’ support,” she said of what will be her first solo run for elected office.
Smith was Dayton’s chief of staff during his first term in office, and she was also his running mate in 2014.
Minnesota’s lieutenant governor also previously worked at General Mills, Planned Parenthood and as chief of staff for R.T. Rybak (D), Minneapolis’ former mayor.
Smith’s decision means she will be campaigning at the same time as Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who is up for reelection in 2018.
Franken resigned last week amid accusations of sexual misconduct from multiple women and rapidly fading support from fellow Democrats.
“I know in my heart that I have done nothing – nothing – that has brought dishonor to this institution,” he said on the Senate floor.
“Nevertheless, I am announcing that in the coming weeks I am resigning from the Senate,” Franken added without specifying an end date.
Multiple women accused Franken of groping or kissing them without consent in the past after the first allegations against him emerged last month.
Smith on Wednesday said she had spoken with Franken and his staff, adding she expects him to officially step down at some point early next month.