MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – In one of the more hotly-contested races to receive national attention, Democratic Sen. Tina Smith has defeated Republican Karin Housley to retain that seat in the U.S. Senate, as called by The Associated Press.
That seat was previously held by former Sen. Al Franken, who resigned back in January amid allegations of sexual harassment. The allegations started to surface last November.
Smith, the lieutenant governor at the time, was appointed to replace Franken on an interim basis. It’s a historic race with two women being the top nominees for the first time.
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While Smith and Housley were the two big names in the race, Jerry Trooien ran unaffiliated and was joined by Sarah Wellington with “Legalize Marijuana Now.”
Housley and Smith debated for the final time before Election Day on Sunday night, where the hot topics included minimum wage and wage equality. Smith said she supports a $15 minimum wage. Housley does not, saying the Republican tax bill jump-started the booming economy.
In a separate debate late last week, Housley and Smith both agreed that the biggest concern they’ve heard from voters was over health care. Housley said Minnesota had affordable health care before Obamacare, and higher costs forced health care providers to close. Smith said it’s important to make sure as many people as possible have health insurance as we think about lowering costs.
When asked about gun control, Smith reiterated she thinks anyone wanting to buy a gun, in-store or online, should have to pass a criminal background check.
Housley also went out of her way to say that Smith has authored 25 bills in her 10 months in office, and none of them has been passed into law.