For New Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith, a Lesser Form of Incumbency

On Tuesday, now-former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) officially resigned from the U.S. Senate following allegations of inappropriate behavior toward women. As we discussed in our last newsletter for 2017, Franken’s resignation means that Minnesota will hold a special election for Senate this coming November, which will take place at the same time as the regular election for the state’s other Senate seat (a “double-barrel” election). Franken’s exit paved the way for Gov. Mark Dayton (D) to officially appoint now-Sen. Tina Smith (D), previously Minnesota’s lieutenant governor. This makes Smith the 195th appointed senator since the ratification of the 17th Amendment in April 1913 initiated the era of popular elections for Senate. …

Unsurprisingly, appointed incumbents have a worse track record than elected incumbents, in both contests for renomination and in general elections. CONT.

Geoffrey Skelley, Sabato’s Crystal Ball