As Smith heads to DC, questions linger over her replacement

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- After a crazy year in Minnesota politics, 2018 will start with Democrats and Republicans squabbling over the next lieutenant governor and what it means for control of the Senate.

Republican Sen. Michelle Fischbach is poised to become lieutenant governor after Lt. Gov. Tina Smith is sworn into the U.S. Senate this week. But Fischbach plans to keep her Senate seat.

It's triggered outrage from Democrats who believe she must resign and see a chance to retake Republicans' narrow majority in the chamber. If Democrats win a Feb. 12 special election in Cottage Grove, Fischbach's removal from the Senate would leave the chamber deadlocked at 33-33.

Democratic Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk has promised a lawsuit if Fischbach holds both roles. GOP Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka has vowed to fight.

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