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

69 comments

Mary B
Mary B5 months ago

The article was about Al Franken, but of course since you right wing folks have nothing to go on, you immediately just flip back into your old " but then the repubs should be given the benefit of the doubt too whining " . If they want an ethics review, they'll get one so what is your problem ? Nobody is preventing them from having a review. It's just that we can tell a pervert from a decent person and you can't.

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Karen H
Karen H5 months ago

Ellie M, you wonder why women wait to report sexual assault. Look what happened to Lindsey Vonn, who simply said she wants to represent our country well in the Winter Olympics and represent the people of the United States, not just the president. Trump followers immediately said they hoped she would break her neck and that God will punish her for being anti-Trump. This reaction simply for stating the fact that U.S. Olympians will be representing ALL Americans. How thin-skinned some people are. The women who accused Trump have received death threats. When one brave victim steps forward, others feel more empowered. That is why they wait. All accusations of sexual misconduct - male or female, Republican or Democrat - need to be investigated and the guilty punished. No exceptions.

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Brian F
Brian F5 months ago

Marianne C When Democrat Cory Booker takes 19 million dollars from Wall Street, and corporations, including $300,000 as a bribe from big pharma, to vote against a Sanders/Klobachar bill to lower prescription drug prices, along with 10 other Democratic traitors, the Democrats are just as corrupt and corporate owned as the Republicans. Corruption, and sexual harassment exist in both parties. Anthony Weiner is in prison for exposing himself to young girls.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/-booker-and-the-other-big_b_14150632.html

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld5 months ago

Mary B.,
The same could he said of Roy Moore. I suspect their was a significant amount of truth. Otherwise, he would not have resigned.

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Dan Blossfeld
Dan Blossfeld5 months ago

Marianne,
Are implying that the accusations against the Democrats are all trumped up (pardon the pun), but those against Republicans are legit? I seriously doubt that the Democrats are less guilty than Republicans.

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Brian F
Brian F5 months ago

AL Franken stood on stage at the DNC, with that liar Sarah Silverman, and supported that Democratic establishment crook Hillary, and Al Franken refused to support Medicare for All. So this fraud Al Franken is a corporate fake Democrats who is corrupt like the Republicans. Eight women accused him, and it's good he stepped down, because he is a phony, like all the corporate fake Democrats.

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Marianne C
Marianne C5 months 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 C5 months 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 A5 months ago

Denial! A heartfelt apology was called for.

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Mary B
Mary B5 months 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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