1st Republican enters race for Senate term

ST. PAUL — A state lawmaker launched a special election bid for Minnesota Sen. Al Franken’s seat on Tuesday, the first Republican to enter a 10-month sprint to Election Day that could still attract bigger GOP names.

State Sen. Karin Housley has the name recognition in hockey-mad Minnesota that comes from being married to a Hall of Fame player, Buffalo Sabres head coach Phil Housley, not to mention her 2014 run for statewide office and two terms in the Legislature. But several other Republicans, including former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, are considering running for the seat, which will open up because of Franken’s planned resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations brought by several women.

“You can’t live your life waiting to find out what somebody else is going to do. Somebody needed to step up and jump into this race if we’re going to be competitive and win this,” Housley said of Pawlenty, whom she called a lifelong friend.