Minnesota Democrats have endorsed Sen. Tina Smith to run for the seat and finish out former Sen. Al Franken’s term.
Smith has held the seat since January, when she was appointed to replace Franken after he resigned amid a sexual misconduct scandal. But she faced an endorsement challenge from several candidates, including frequent cable TV commentator and former Republican ethics attorney Richard Painter.
Smith easily won the party’s endorsement on the first ballot Friday during the Democratic convention in Rochester. Painter has said he plans to run in a primary against Smith. The winner will face GOP state Sen. Karin Housley in November.
It was the first major endorsement during a weekend focused largely on an open governor’s seat. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar didn’t face an opponent and was endorsed for a third term.