Minnesota DFL and GOP fight for Senate seat - KBJR 6 Your Weather Authority: News, Weather & Sports

Minnesota DFL and GOP fight for Senate seat

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Sen. Al Franken has officially resigned from the U.S. Senate. The Minnesota Democrat formally stepped down Tuesday afternoon. 

The resignation comes nearly a month after Franken announced his plans to leave Congress amid sexual misconduct allegations.

His governor-appointed replacement is Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who submitted a letter to Gov. Dayton Tuesday, formally resigning the Office of Lieutenant Governor. 

Republican State Senate President, Michelle Fischbach is gearing up to take Smith's role.

But she plans on keeping her seat in the Senate as well, triggering outrage from Democrats who say she should resign. And Republicans are fighting back. 

The tension among the groups vying for the seat of Sen. Fischbach has the Minnesota Democratic Senate Minority Leader, Tom Bakk promising a lawsuit if Fischbach holds both roles. 

"It's extremely rare, it's never happened before and I think that the tension is in these competing supreme court rulings. One is from the 1800's saying yes, it can happen and the Attorney General's ruling not long ago saying no, it cannot," says Political Consultant and former Minnesota State Senator, Roger Reinert. 

Meanwhile the GOP Senate Majority Leader, Paul Gazelka has vowed to fight.

Reinert says, "the next domino will be, what does Sen. Fischbach do when she becomes Lieutenant Governor Fischbach?  If she does not resign that Senate seat, that then sets up what seems to be likely a legal battle."

Fischbach was appointed by Gov. Dayton in December to move up to his second in command after Tina Smith was appointed to take over U.S Sen. Al Franken's seat.

Reinert feels it's important to remember why this situation is happening in the first place, "I think we shouldn't lose sight of why did this all happen and what is happening today with the United State Senator leaving office over concerns from women who have had interactions with him." 

Currently, the Republicans hold a very narrow majority in the Senate. If Fischbach was removed from her Senate seat the chamber would be in a deadlock at 33-33, and a tie vote is a fail.

Reinert speculates what could happen if the parties take the ordeal to the courts, "an injunction might be sought to bar her [Fischbach] from holding the Senate seat, from literally going on the Senate floor and casting votes when she has been sworn in as Lieutenant Governor."

He says a court battle is possible but the steps leading up to it are unclear. "Will it be the Republicans in the Senate saying we don't think she has to? Will it be Governor's office saying she must? Or the DFLers in the Senate saying she must? I'm not sure who goes first, but one will and then the battle will be joined."

It's a lot of speculation for now,  but what about Fischbach and Dayton's ability to even work together?

Reinert, who formally worked with Sen. Fischbach says, "we're going to have a year potentially of a Democratic governor and a Republican lieutenant governor. They will figure out how to work together, and how to move forward." 

Tina Smith is expected to be sworn into office on Wednesday. 

Reinert says, due to Fischbach's comments, it seems likely that if she were to be legally barred from her Senate seat,  she might resign from lieutenant governor, and run in a special election to take back her Senate seat. 

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