UMN law professor Richard Painter to run for U.S. Senate

The University law professor will run against incumbent Senator Tina Smith in November.

Professor Richard Painter answers questions in an interview at Mondale hall on West Bank on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017.

Chris Dang, Daily File Photo

Professor Richard Painter answers questions in an interview at Mondale hall on West Bank on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017.

Max Chao

University of Minnesota law professor Richard Painter, an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, will run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Tina Smith, according to a Federal Election Commission filing. 

Painter will run as a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor party in the November midterm elections, a departure from his past Republican party alignment. The FEC filing comes after Painter formed an exploratory committee for his Senate bid in March where he refused to align with a specific party. 

Painter, a former chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, said at a March press conference that “corrupted” government and “dark money” in politics were motivators for his potential run. 

“I believe that this state is entitled to be represented by two senators who are responsible only to the people of the state of Minnesota who elected them, not to special interests,” he said at the press conference. 

Painter’s campaign Twitter account posted a press release on April 26 stating that he will make an “important announcement” relating to his involvement in the election at the State Capitol Monday. 

Painter has amassed a popular Twitter following, often criticizing Trump’s administration and claiming ethics violations. Last year, he filed a lawsuit against Trump citing conflicts of business interest while chair of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. That lawsuit was dismissed near the end of 2017 as it “lacked standing.” 

The 2018 midterm elections will be held on Nov. 6.