St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - Minnesota state Sen. Karin Housley has easily won the state's Republican primary in a race to finish the last two years of Al Franken's Senate term.

Housley faced no major challengers when launching her campaign in the days after Franken announced his resignation over allegations of sexual misconduct.

His departure unexpectedly put a Democrat-held seat in play, complicating the party's hopes of retaking the Senate. But Minnesota hasn't yet appeared as a top pick-up target for Republican groups.

Sen. Tina Smith was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton to replace Franken in January. She won Tuesday's Democratic primary for the seat.

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Sen. Tina Smith has won Minnesota's Democratic primary to finish the final two years of former Sen. Al Franken's term.

Smith took her spot in the Senate in January after Franken resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations. She was the state's lieutenant governor before Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton appointed her to the seat.

She defeated several Democrats to clinch the party's nomination, including Richard Painter, the former GOP ethics attorney whose profile rose as a strident critic of President Donald Trump.

Smith is a longtime political operative in Minnesota.