Mark Dayton on Wednesday morning appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill outgoing U.S. Sen.
The person Dayton names, will serve until the general election next year.
Smith, a Democrat, will serve at least until January, 2019.
The announcement could well put to rest the simmering speculation that Franken might be keeping the door open to remain in the Senate, if Roy Moore is elected in Tuesday's Alabama Senate race.
Franken has not yet set a date to leave Congress.
Smith not only would be an immediate placeholder for Franken, but also would run in the November 2018 special election to serve out Franken's term. The victor of that election will serve out the remainder of Franken's term until 2020, when they will once again be up for re-election.
She also acknowledged that not all Minnesotans are benefiting from the current economy and vowed to be an advocate for "economic opportunity and fairness" for women and people of color. He denied any purposeful misconduct, but resigned after Democratic colleagues pressured him.
"I will be focusing the next couple weeks on getting ready to become senator and I'm not going to get into the discussion that is going on in Washington right now", she said.
Rebecca Esehai, 74, of Lakeville, with her husband, said of the Senate appointment, "I'm sure Gov. Dayton did the best he could do and he believes in what he has done. And that it is a good thing, and it's so important that we don't slide backward and instead move forward".
Standing on the Senate floor Thursday, he said he could no longer be an effective senator for Minnesota but insisted that some of the allegations against him were "simply not true. others, I remember very differently".
Smith plans to continue to work with Franken's staff during the transition. She added, "I will do this in my own way using my own best judgment and experience, but always with people of Minnesota in mind".
Since minutes after the first word that Franken was accused of sexual misconduct on November 16, those who follow Minnesota politics said Smith probably would be picked if Franken resigned.
Minnesota Democrats, including Franken and U.S. Sen.