Tina Smith

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Tina Smith
Tina Smith official photo.jpg
United States Senator
from Minnesota
Assumed office
January 3, 2018
Serving with Amy Klobuchar
Appointed byMark Dayton
Preceded byAl Franken
48th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
In office
January 5, 2015 – January 2, 2018
GovernorMark Dayton
Preceded byYvonne Prettner Solon
Succeeded byMichelle Fischbach
Personal details
Christine Elizabeth Flint[1]

(1958-03-04) March 4, 1958 (age 60)
Albuquerque, New Mexico, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Archie Smith
EducationStanford University (BA)
Dartmouth College (MBA)
WebsiteSenate website

Christine Elizabeth "Tina" Flint Smith (born March 4, 1958) is an American politician and former businesswoman serving as the junior United States Senator from Minnesota since 2018, filling the seat vacated by Al Franken. She is a member of the Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party (DFL), an affiliate of the Democratic Party. Smith served as the 48th Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota from 2015 to 2018, when she was appointed to serve as a U.S. Senator for the state. Smith won the 2018 special election, defeating the Republican nominee, Minnesota State Senator Karin Housley.

Early life and education[edit]

Smith was born on March 4, 1958[2] in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the daughter of Christine, a teacher, and F. Harlan Flint, a lawyer.[3][4] Prior to going to college, she worked on the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. She graduated from Stanford University with a degree in political science, and later earned a master's degree in business administration from Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.[5]

Early career[edit]

Smith first moved to Minnesota in 1984 for a marketing job at General Mills.[6] She later started her own marketing firm, where she consulted with businesses and nonprofits.[7] In the early 1990s, Smith became involved in local politics, volunteering for DFL campaigns in Minneapolis.[8] She managed Ted Mondale's unsuccessful 1998 campaign for governor. After Minnesota's U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash weeks before the 2002 election, Smith managed former U.S. Vice President Walter Mondale's campaign for the seat.[9] After Mondale lost a narrow election to Norm Coleman, Smith began working as the vice president of external affairs at Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.[10]

Smith left her job at Planned Parenthood to serve as chief of staff to Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak in 2006.[11] In 2010, she was picked to manage Rybak's gubernatorial campaign, which ended after Margaret Anderson Kelliher won the DFL endorsement.[9] Smith then joined the campaign of Mark Dayton, who skipped the endorsing convention and eventually won the DFL primary.[8] After Dayton defeated Republican Tom Emmer in the general election, Smith was named a co-chair of the transition. Dayton appointed Smith as his chief of staff when he took office in 2011.[12]

Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota[edit]

2014 election[edit]

When Lieutenant Governor Yvonne Prettner Solon announced she would not seek reelection, Governor Mark Dayton selected Smith as his running mate in the 2014 gubernatorial election. Dayton cited Smith's work on passing legislation for new Minnesota Vikings Stadium, as well as her support for the Destination Medical Center project with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.[13]

Smith stepped down as Dayton's chief of staff to campaign for lieutenant governor. After being nominated by acclamation at the DFL state convention, and facing only token opposition in the DFL gubernatorial primary, Dayton and Smith defeated Republicans Jeff Johnson and Bill Kuisle in the general election.[14]


Smith in 2016

Smith took office as lieutenant governor on January 5, 2015 and served until she was appointed to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate on January 2, 2018.[15] During her tenure, Smith was described by many political observers as having a much higher profile and playing a much more significant role in legislative negotiations than her predecessors.[6][16] She spent a significant amount of time traveling the state in support of the priorities of Dayton's administration, including funding for optional preschool for all four-year-olds, transportation infrastructure, and rural broadband internet access. She also served as chair of the Destination Medical Center board until her resignation in December 2017.[17][18]

In 2016, Roll Call named Smith to their "America's Top 25 Most Influential Women in State Politics" list, citing her high-profile role in the Dayton administration.

Despite widespread speculation to the contrary, Smith announced in March 2017 that she would not run for governor in the 2018 election.[19][20]

U.S. Senate[edit]

Dayton appointing Smith to the Senate


On December 13, 2017, Governor Dayton announced Smith as his pick to fill the United States Senate seat held by Al Franken, who indicated he would be resigning the seat at a later date amid allegations of sexual misconduct.[21][22] While political observers initially speculated Smith might serve in a caretaker role, she announced her candidacy in the 2018 special election.[23]

Dayton issued the official certificate of appointment following Franken's resignation on January 2, 2018.[24][25]


With Vice President Mike Pence issuing the oath of office, Smith was officially sworn in as a United States Senator on January 3, 2018,[26] alongside Doug Jones of Alabama. She was accompanied by fellow Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and former Vice President Walter Mondale.[27]

Committee assignments[edit]

Source: Senate Democrats Press Release[28]

2018 election[edit]

Smith competed in the 2018 special Senate election in Minnesota. She won the August 14 Minnesota Democratic–Farmer–Labor Party primary with 76% of the vote. Richard Painter, a White House ethics lawyer during the George W. Bush administration, finished second with 14%.[29][30] Smith defeated Republican nominee Karin Housley, a state senator from St. Marys Point, in the general election on November 6, winning 53% of the vote to Housley's 42%.[31][32]

Political positions[edit]

Health care[edit]

Smith has stated her record in the Senate shows she will fight pharmaceutical companies to improve people's lives. She has said she will continue to fight to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs in Minnesota, for example by making generic drugs more available, preventing citizens with pre-existing conditions from being charged more, and allowing Minnesotans to buy in to Medicare if they are not satisfied with their options on the insurance market.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Flint, Edward Frances; Flint, Gwendolyn Slaughter (December 16, 1984). "Flint family history of the adventuresome seven". Gateway Press. Retrieved December 16, 2018 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ "About Tina | Senator Tina Smith". www.smith.senate.gov. Retrieved 2018-07-10.
  3. ^ Mexican, Steve Terrell. "Senator who stepped into Minnesota role has deep New Mexico roots". Santa Fe New Mexican. Retrieved December 16, 2018. Text " The New" ignored (help)
  4. ^ http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/santafenewmexican/obituary.aspx?n=christine-m-flint&pid=181681490&fhid=10275
  5. ^ "Tina Smith: Minnesota's Next Lieutenant Governor". Mark Dayton for a Better Minnesota. Archived from the original on July 2, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  6. ^ a b Condon, Patrick (October 10, 2016). "Lt. Gov. Tina Smith's high-profile role fuels speculation about her political future". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  7. ^ "Governor Mark Dayton Appoints Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith to Serve as United States Senator". Office of Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  8. ^ a b Bierschbach, Briana. "Minnesota, meet your next U.S. senator: Tina Smith". MinnPost. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Potter, Kyle. "Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith named to fill Franken seat". Star Tribune. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  10. ^ Bierschbach, Briana (February 4, 2014). "Veteran behind-the-scenes player Tina Smith steps forward as Dayton's running mate". MinnPost. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  11. ^ Pugmire, Tim. "As Dayton weighs Franken replacement, who may run in 2018?". Minnesota Public Radio. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
  12. ^ Bierschbach, Briana (February 2, 2015). "The rise of Tina Smith". MinnPost. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  13. ^ Bierschbach, Briana (February 2, 2015). "The rise of Tina Smith". Minneapolis: MinnPost.
  14. ^ Simons, Abby. "Franken cruises to easy re-election". Star Tribune. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  15. ^ "Smith resigns as Lt. Governor, prepares for start in the Senate". KMSP Fox 9. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  16. ^ Grow, Doug (May 9, 2016). "Why there has never been a lieutenant governor like Tina Smith". MinnPost. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  17. ^ Condon, Patrick (October 10, 2016). "Lt. Gov. Tina Smith's high-profile role fuels speculation about her political future". Star Tribune. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  18. ^ "Tina Smith resigns from Mayo Clinic board as her move to Senate nears". Twin Cities. December 28, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  19. ^ Wilkins, Emily (March 18, 2016). "From Top Lieutenant to Lt. Governor". MinnPost. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
  20. ^ "Lt. Gov. Tina Smith will not run for governor in 2018". Star Tribune. Minneapolis. March 17, 2017. Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, one of the state's highest-ranking female elected officials and a close adviser to Gov. Mark Dayton, will not run for governor in 2018
  21. ^ Rao, Maya. "Transition time: Franken moves out, Smith moves in". Star Tribune. Retrieved January 2, 2018.
  22. ^ "'I shouldn't be underestimated': Tina Smith will take Al Franken's seat — and run again in 2018". Twin Cities. December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  23. ^ "Minnesota Democrats aim to clear Tina Smith's path for 2018 Senate bid". Twin Cities. December 14, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2017.
  24. ^ Samuels, Brett (January 2, 2018). "Franken makes Senate resignation official". TheHill. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  25. ^ "United States Senate Appointment and Lieutenant Governor Transition". Office of Governor Mark Dayton and Lt. Governor Tina Smith. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  26. ^ New Democratic Senators Doug Jones and Tins Smith Sworn in C-Span, January 3, 2018
  27. ^ "Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith sworn in as senator, replacing Franken". ABC News. January 3, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  28. ^ "Schumer Announces Updated Senate Democratic Committee Memberships for the 115th Congress, 2nd Session | Senate Democratic Leadership". www.democrats.senate.gov. Retrieved January 10, 2018.
  29. ^ "United States Senate special election in Minnesota (August 14, 2018 Democratic primary)". Ballotpedia. Retrieved 25 June 2018.
  30. ^ FOX. "Minnesota primary election results roundup". KMSP. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  31. ^ "Tina Smith, Karin Housley make for historic matchup for U.S. Senate". Star Tribune. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  32. ^ "Minnesota U.S. Senate Special Election Results". The New York Times. 2018-11-14. Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  33. ^ "Health care Q+A with Senate candidates Smith, Housley". Retrieved 2018-10-26.

External links[edit]

External video
News conference with Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton announcing Smith as his appointee to the U.S. Senate, December 13, 2017, C-SPAN
Political offices
Preceded by
Yvonne Prettner Solon
Lieutenant Governor of Minnesota
Succeeded by
Michelle Fischbach
U.S. Senate
Preceded by
Al Franken
U.S. Senator (Class 2) from Minnesota
Served alongside: Amy Klobuchar
Party political offices
Preceded by
Al Franken
Democratic nominee for U.S. Senator from Minnesota
(Class 2)

Most recent
Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Catherine Cortez Masto
United States Senators by seniority
Succeeded by
Doug Jones