GOP in striking distance to retake Franken seat

GOP in striking distance to retake Franken seat
© Greg Nash

Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith (D) holds a 7-point lead over Republican challenger and state Sen. Karin Housley ahead of November's midterms, according to a new poll publishing Monday.

The Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota poll found that Smith, who replaced former Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenGOP Senate candidate says Trump, Republicans will surprise in Minnesota Peterson faces fight of his career in deep-red Minnesota district Getting tight — the psychology of cancel culture MORE (D) following his resignation in January, has the support of 44 percent of the likely voters polled. Another 37 percent support Housley, while 15 percent of those surveyed say they remain undecided, according to the poll.

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Smith, the former Minnesota lieutenant governor, was tapped to replace Franken after he resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

Smith now faces Housley in a special election to fill the remainder of Franken's term, which expires in January 2021. The nonpartisan Cook Political Report rates Smith's race as leaning Democrat. FiveThirtyEight gives Smith about a 90 percent chance to keep the seat.

Minnesota Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar3 reasons why Biden is misreading the politics of court packing Social media platforms put muscle into National Voter Registration Day Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight MORE (D) is also on the ballot, but she holds a far more significant lead over Republican challenger Jim Newberger, according to the poll. The poll found that 60 percent of likely voters support Klobuchar and 30 percent support Newberger. Cook rates Klobuchar's seat as "solid" Democrat.

The poll's results were based on interviews with 800 likely voters in Minnesota conducted from Sept. 10-12. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.