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Talking Points: High Stakes Race For Smith, Housley

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- One of the highest stakes political races in Minnesota this year is one that wasn't supposed to happen.

Because of Sen. Al Franken's resignation there is now a hotly contested race for his seat between U.S. Sen. Tina Smith and State Sen. Karin Housley.

Sen. Franken was not up for re-election until 2020. In 2014, he easily beat Mike McFadden by more than 10 percentage points.

Franken, of course, abruptly resigned in January after #MeToo allegations were brought against him. Gov. Mark Dayton appointed his Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill the seat. Smith has made 110 appearances around the state in just over seven months and has campaigned aggressively.

But recent polls show the Republican contender, Housley, is closing the gap.

The latest polls show Smith up by 7 points, but that's within the margin of error. The poll also shows 18 percent of voters are undecided. Housley is perhaps best known for her advocacy on issues surrounding older Minnesotans.

Both Smith and Housley were guests on WCCO Sunday Morning.

"It's very exciting our message is resonating throughout the state of Minnesota," Housley said. "I have been here almost every day at the State Fair and just to have the people come up, and how excited they are about the campaign."

Sen. Smith said, "There has been a lot of talk this election year about waves--blue waves or red waves. I don't believe in waves; I believe in hard work and talking to people, and understanding what they are concerned about and being that voice in Washington."

Whoever wins this race won't have much time to savor her victory. If she wants to continue in the Senate, she'll have to run again in 2020, which would have been the end of Sen. Franken's term.




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