Minnesota Senator Al Franken Announces Plan to Resign

Faced with yet another accuser stating that he attempted to force an unwanted kiss upon her, Minnesota’s Senator Al Franken announced on the Senate floor that he will resign from Congress within a “few weeks.”

The pledge came within a day of over two dozen Democratic Senators – led by the women of the Senate – calling on Franken to resign his seat over allegations of sexual misconduct.

“Serving in the United States Senate has been the great honor of my life,” Franken stated. “I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator — nothing — has brought dishonor on this institution. And I am confident that the ethics committee would agree. Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate.”

He added that, “Minnesotans deserve a senator who can focus with all her energy on addressing the challenges they face every day,” alluding to the popular idea that any appointee to the seat should be a woman.

Franken’s resignation greatly complicates the upcoming 2018 elections, both on a national and local level. Minnesota’s Democratic Governor Mark Dayton – who also is not seeking reelection – will now appoint someone to fill Franken’s seat during a 2018 special election. This means that the state will have two Senate seats up for election at the same time; Minnesota’s other senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, is also up for reelection.

The resignation adds another vulnerable Senate seat into the midterm mix, leaving national Democrats with another seat to defend and pushing hopes of taking over the Senate a little further away.

Governor Dayton will be making his appointment within the next few days, he told the media, although according to speculation he has already chosen his Lieutenant Governor Tina Smith for the seat. One of her best attributes, according to the governor, may be her disinclination to run for the rest of Franken’s term. “That is part of Smith’s appeal as a potential placeholder,” reports Politico. “And it means the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party in Minnesota would have an open contest for Franken’s seat, meeting in late spring for the party endorsement process and then holding a primary next August.”

But many Minnesotans (myself included) are hopeful that Governor Dayton will appoint a woman who does want to run in 2018, providing her with a leg up in the upcoming special election, especially in the wake of the ongoing uncovering of rampant sexism and abuse in Congress. Potential candidates being suggested include Margaret Anderson Kelliher, a former speaker of the Minnesota House, who lost the primary nomination for governor to Dayton, Rep. Peggy Flanagan, the first female American Indian state representative, or Rep. Ilhan Omar, the first Somali-American state legislator in the U.S..

While Franken’s own speech to the Senate steadily avoided any mention of wrongdoing or offered any apology to those accusers who felt violated, Minnesotan officials were more understanding in their own comments, acknowledging that believing accusers and still appreciating Franken’s work in the Senate wasn’t an either/or proposition. “I extend my deepest regrets to the women, who have had to endure their unwanted experiences with Senator Franken. As a personal friend, my heart also goes out to Al and his family during this difficult time,” Governor Dayton said in a statement. “In other respects, Al Franken has been an outstanding Senator. He has been, as Senator Paul Wellstone used to say, ‘A Senator from the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party.’ He is very smart, very hard-working, and very committed to Minnesota. I wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Dayton will likely appoint a senator early next week, with the DFL primary being held in the spring for a new Democratic candidate. Both that senate seat, Amy Klobuchar’s senate seat and the governorship will be on the ballot at the midterm election. Whoever wins Franken’s vacated seat would then finish his term, and run again for the seat in 2020 for a full term.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

63 comments

Marianne C
Marianne C8 hours ago

Franken's first accuser is a Fox News contributor, and other photos and video of her make it obvious that she was capable of some pretty racy behavior, herself. Her own vertical dry-humping of Robin Williams could be considered a sexual assault, for crying out loud!

I can't help wondering how many of the other accusers are being paid by... oh, let's say Project Veritas or some other equally loathsome right wing set-up organization.

They claim they were victimized at events, in front of crowds of people with cameras, and yet no witnesses have come forward yet. And the only photos show them cheesing for the camera with Franken.

If the right-wing smear machine will sink low enough to pay a woman to fake charges to help Roy Moore get into the Senate, what might they do to get a strong liberal OUT?

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Marianne C
Marianne C9 hours ago

@ Dan Blossfeld:

Trump has been accused of the rape of a 13-year-old child trafficking victim. Roy Moore has been accused of molesting at least one 14-year-old girl, and of attempted rape against a 16-year-old.

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Jetana A
Jetana A15 hours ago

Denial! A heartfelt apology was called for.

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Mary B
Mary B20 hours ago

I am appalled at the attitudes expressed here. Franken should NOT resign. He is entitled to the ethics review. He has committed NO CRIME, and the rest of the accusations are unproven. But the way most of you are judging him you act like you are major witnesses , yet you KNOW NOTHING ! You weren't there, you didn't see it happened. You're speculating based on what exactly ? If any of you ever have to sit for jury duty, you'd get kicked off immediately unless YOU LIED about your pre-formed opinions .He is being pressed to resign by both NPR and the DNC.
He was ELECTED by THE PEOPLE of Minn.to work on their behalf. Not those who jump on the band wagon to claim support for real victims of sexual harassment.
Is this a poll to see how people respond to what they are being LED to think happen, or are you being asked to be more discerning ? I've seen petitions here on Care2 asking people to "Take a pledge to believe woman no matter what ".

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Dan B
Dan Blossfeld23 hours ago

Debbi,
None of the other politicians have been accused of rape either - except maybe Conyers. His actions may not have been as extreme, but they are still unwanted sexual advances. Each party tries to protect their own, until the evidence becomes overwhelming, and then they just want to protect the party. All rather self-serving.

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Debbi W
Debbi Wyesterday

I agree with Anne. What Al Franken did was distasteful, foolish and stupid but not in the same category as the grabbers and bullies, and certainly not in the same category as trump or Moore, yet the R's are calling out as if he'd raped women on a regular basis. He apologized and asked to be investigated. Did his accusers want his head on a platter? It didn't sound like it, though I have no idea. I'm not making excuses, just asking for a separation of the degree of charges. R's want Sen. Franken out (of course, he's a democrat) but their numbnuts pres. is their president, and they are __backing Moore__ who is lying about his absession with under age teen girls when he was in his 30's! Many of the R's believe his accusers and are Still Backing the pervert. So it's "What is right for the republicans is NOT right for anyone else."

If you want to bring up Monica Lewinsky, she went to work as an aide and, under her own Mother's advise, she pursued President Clinton because her claimed to have slept with Pres. Kennedy and thought Monica should have sex with President Clinton. What a mother! He should have ignored her but many men do not pass up such offers.

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Janis K
Janis K1 days ago

Thanks for sharing

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Winn Adams
Winn A1 days ago

Thanks

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Winn Adams
Winn A1 days ago

Al Franken was one of my very favorite politicians. I'm glad he resigned. It was the right thing to do.

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Brian F
Brian F1 days ago

I too read most of Al Franken's books including "The Truth" and "Liars and the Lying Liars who Make Them". These were honest books, that exposed Republican for being the crooks and liars that they are. I had a lot of respect for Al Franken, but now I don't. However when 8 accusers come forward, and a picture shows Al Franken groping a women's breast on a USO tour, it's time for Al Franken to go. It's not ok for Al Franken to force his tongue down a women's throat, and allowing Al Franken to remain, makes it ok. Just like Bill Cosby, we need to realize that many famous people can and do abuse women. The only way to put a stop to this, is to fire these people, from their jobs, to send a message to others who might engage in this behavior.

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