At Issue: December 10 - Al Franken Resigns from U.S. Senate

December 10, 2017 06:56 PM

Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken Resigns Amid Cloud of Sexual Misconduct Allegations

It was a dramatic week in Minnesota political history. U.S. Sen. Al Franken resigned Thursday following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct and growing calls from many of his U.S. Senate colleagues to step down. Franken's resignation is not immediate, but is expected to happen before the holiday recess.


At least eight women have come forward to accuse Franken of various forms of sexual misconduct and inappropriate behavior. Some of Franken's accusers have publicly identified themselves, while others have chosen to remain anonymous. On Wednesday, shortly after the latest allegations came out, more than 30 of Franken's colleagues urged him to resign. It wasn't until Thursday morning that Franken contacted those closet to him to say he would resign. 

It'll now be up to Gov. Mark Dayton to name a replacement to take Sen. Franken's Senate seat before a special election is held in 2018. Dayton is expected to make that choice sometime this week. There's wide speculation he'll choose Lt. Governor Tina Smith for the post. Smith is also reportedly considering running for the seat in 2018. Other names being floated as a replacement senator include Attorney General Lori Swanson, Congresswoman Betty McCollum and Congressmen Keith Ellison or Tim Walz.

As for 2018, it's wide open on both sides. Former Minnesota Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty says while he's still "politically retired," he may consider running for the seat. Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, whom Franken defeated by 312 votes in 2008, said on Facebook that he will not run for the seat. 

This sets the stage for what will be an historic and wild mid-term election in Minnesota in 2018. Both of Minnesota's U.S. Senate seats will be up for re-election, along with all eight U.S. House seats. At the State Capitol, we'll have the Governor's race, along with races for Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Auditor. All 134 State House seats will be up for grabs, as well. The State Senate is not up for re-election in 2018. 


Amanda Theisen

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