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Al Franken Is Out

08 December 2017

After mounting sexual harassment allegations and pressure from his colleagues to resign, Al Franken announced that he will resign his Senate seat in the next few weeks.

Last month, Leeann Tweeden, a morning news anchor on the AM radio station KABC in Los Angeles, posted her story on the station's website, saying Franken forcibly kissed her and groped her in 2006 during a USO tour.

"Nevertheless, today I am announcing that in the coming weeks, I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate". This decision is not about me.

Dozens of his Democratic Senate colleagues called for his resignation Wednesday, including the ranking Democrat, Chuck Schumer.

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Franken said that in responding to women's reports of his behavior, he "wanted to be respectful" of the broader conversation around harassment and men's abuses of power. There is, he said, a "false impression that I was admitting to doing things I haven't done", and characterized some of the allegations as "simply not true", while others, he indicated "I remember very differently".

"Enough is enough", declared Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of NY.

"Nothing has changed except for Gillibrand's own political calculations", he said of her change in tone toward Bill Clinton.

It's pretty clear that Franken is resigning only under duress. The only requirements are that it is a Minnesota resident, at least 30 years old, and a US citizen for at least nine years.

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Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) arrives to cast a vote in the Senate Chamber inside of the U.S. Capitol building November 30, 2017 in Washington, DC. There is "irony in the fact that I'm leaving", Franken said, when Trump is not and Roy Moore "campaigns for the Senate with the full support of his party".

The unexpected opportunity could be a "total game-changer in terms of control of the Senate", Republican strategist Alex Conant, a Minnesota native, told NBC News. In November 2018, the state would hold a special election for a candidate to complete Franken's term, which ends in 2020.

His lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, has been most frequently mentioned for the temporary appointment.

"Senator Franken is talking with his family at this time and plans to make an announcement in D.C. tomorrow". He is locked in a tight race with Democratic opponent Doug Jones, and the seat they are vying for is critically important in the closely divided Senate. She's known largely for behind-the-scenes work, including as Dayton's former chief of staff. Dayton is expected to move quickly to name a replacement if and when Franken makes it official.

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Al Franken Is Out