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UMD political science professor weighs in on what's next following Sen. Franken's resignation

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DULUTH, MN -

University of Minnesota-Duluth political science professor Cyndie Rugeley says she skeptical that Governor Mark Dayton would appoint Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to take over the seat being vacated by Senator Al Franken. 

The constitutional provision regarding replacement of the Lt. Governor would require the Senate President to be elevated to the position. Right now the seat is held by Republican Senator Michelle Fischbach.

"It would be awfully altruistic of a Democratic governor to appoint a Republican to the second highest office," Rugeley said. 

Whomever is appointed to the Senate seat, Rugeley thinks it will be a woman. Senator Franken referred to his eventual replacement as a "she" and "her" several times during his speech Thursday. 

On the national level, Rugeley says there's certainly a differing approach by democrats and republicans on how cases of sexual misconduct are being handled.

"For Democrats, it's clear their constituencies are holding them to a higher level of accountability on it. They are known as the party that's stronger on women. I think there would be increased pressure on them. It works to their advantage," Rugeley said. 

Rugeley says you can't ignore the strength of party identification. 

"In Alabama, Rugeley said, logically there is no reason why someone with Roy Moore's background, even prior to the allegations of sexual misbehavior, of being a serious candidate. It's a Republican state and they tend to overlook when voting on party identification." 

Looking ahead to the 2018 elections in Minnesota, there will be two US Senate seat vacancies and all state-wide offices will appear on the ballot. Voters in Minnesota will be choosing a legislature that will be in charge of redistricting.

"Everybody's running," said Rugeley. 

 

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