MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - The governor's office said Sunday it wouldn't be naming a replacement for Sen. Al Franken until at least Tuesday, despite widespread rumors of the nominee being a woman.
Gov. Mark Dayton will be out of town for most of the day Monday, his office noted, though that certainly didn't stop those in the state from fueling rampant speculation over who he will name for the interim seat, which will be up for re-election again in November 2018.
Several democratic lawmakers reported Dayton mentioned the situation at Saturday's DFL Founder's Day Dinner, referring to his pick as a "she," a move many say is smart given the accusations of sexual misconduct against Franken and other legislators.
Hamline University political expert David Schultz, for his part, said in an op-ed on the Huffington Post that his pick would be state Sen. Melisa Franzen, DFL-Edina--a young woman from Puerto Rico who hails from a swing district, and someone who he says is smart and an eloquent speaker.
Franzen says the governor's office has not formally reached out to her, though she also maintains that whoever takes the position will need to be able to run again in 2018.
“It’s something definitely to consider," she said. "But it's also not something I’m going to jump into without a full vetting and deeply thinking about what I can bring to the role.”
Also making the shortlist are women like Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson and Lieutenant Gov. Tina Smith, who already have high profiles within the state and know the big issues Minnesota voters are facing.
Former Gov. Arne Carlson, however, says Franken should rescind his nomination until a Senate ethics investigation is complete--and in lieu of that, Dayton shouldn't appoint anyone until the process is finished.
"I think it’s imperative for Gov. Dayton to publicly speak out and say no there will be no appointment until the process in the United States Senate is completed," he said.