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Dem donor: Withdrawing support for senators who urged Franken to quit an ‘option’

A prominent Democratic donor is weighing her future support of the party after numerous Democratic senators urged Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) to resign in the face of sexual misconduct allegations.

Susie Tompkins Buell told The New York Times on Sunday she believes the dozens of senators who called for Franken to step down last month "moved too fast," and withdrawing support from those who led the push is "an option."

"I am a big believer in helping more women into the political system but this has given me an opportunity to rethink of how I can best help my party," Buell wrote in a text to the newspaper.

Buell has donated millions to liberal causes and candidates, and has backed female candidates such as Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), the newspaper reported. Gillibrand was among the first to call for Franken's resignation.

"As for Gillibrand, unfortunately, I believe she miscalculated and has shot herself in the foot," Buell said.

Multiple women accused Franken late last year of kissing or groping them without consent during photo-ops and at other events, including some before he was elected senator in 2008.

Most lawmakers, including Franken, initially called for an ethics investigation. However, as the allegations mounted, Franken's colleagues began calling for him to resign.

He announced in a floor speech in December that he would step down. He officially resigned last week, and former Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) was sworn in as his replacement. 

Buell, who also spoke to BuzzFeed News, told The New York Times that she did not know Franken personally, but was impressed by his work as a senator. 

Buell founded the clothing brand Esprit, and also offered money to help a woman who accused President Trump of harassment. She said the money was not used and was refunded.

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