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Minnesota's new senator: Quiet organizer, late to politics

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By KYLE POTTER
Associated Press

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The woman being touted as Minnesota's newest U.S. senator is a largely behind-the-scenes player who came to elected office late in her career and passed up a major shot at power just a few months ago.

Tina Smith isn't passing a second time. Two Democratic sources tell The Associated Press that Gov. Mark Dayton on Wednesday will name his trusted lieutenant governor and former chief of staff to fill Sen. Al Franken's seat until a special election next November.

Smith didn't take a straight line to politics. The New Mexico native came to Minnesota three decades ago for a marketing job.

She gradually moved into politics and ran a handful of statewide campaigns for Democrats. She didn't hold office until Dayton made her his running mate two years ago.

Associated Press writer Alan Fram in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.

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