STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) — Republican State Sen. Karin Housley is kick-starting her campaign for the U.S. Senate squarely focused on the November election.

Housley was the first Republican to launch a campaign in the unexpected election after former Sen. Al Franken resigned amid a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations. But many Republicans in Minnesota and Washington are waiting on former Gov. Tim Pawlenty to decide whether to run for the seat.

Housley held a campaign kickoff in Stillwater Monday with dozens of supporters. She made clear she's focused on beating Democratic Sen. Tina Smith.

The second-term state senator says helping small businesses, veterans and senior care will be the heart of her campaign. Her campaign is planning a statewide tour to raise her profile and trips to Washington to build party support.

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