Al Franken on another Senate run: ‘I’m keeping my options open’

Former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who resigned in 2017 amid accusations of sexual misconduct, said he is “keeping my options open” on whether to run for public office again. 

In an interview published Monday by Massachusetts-based newspaper The Republican, Franken said he has his own political action committee and noted that there have now been at least nine former colleagues who have issued public apologies for their lack of support for him when the allegations first came to light. 

“Well, I wanted due process, but I had 36 colleagues and a majority leader who wouldn’t give it to me, so it was impossible,” he said, though he added he does “have some regrets.” 

“It was a very weird, tough situation at that moment,” Franken told the news outlet. “I love the Senate. I love the work that I did.”

However, the comedian-turned-politician is returning his focus to comedy for the moment, beginning a comedy tour called “The Only Former U.S. Senator Currently on Tour” later this month.

“Right now my focus is on doing this [tour] and doing other stuff that is more politically blatant,” he said. 

Franken, who was a founding writer and later cast member on “Saturday Night Live” before he was elected to the Senate in 2008, told The Republican that he views his comedy tour as a meaningful way to contribute to political discourse. 

“I’ve always tried to make a difference satirically,” he said. “Because I believe comedy and satire is a very valid way — and sometimes almost a more productive way — of affecting public opinion.”

Franken announced his resignation in December 2017 and officially left office the next month after eight women accused him of sexual misconduct and following the release of a photo showing him pretending to grope a woman while she was asleep. 

The former senator told The New Yorker in July 2019 that he “absolutely” regretted resigning. And seven of his former Senate colleagues told the magazine at the time that they regretted demanding he step down. 

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called his support for Franken’s resignation before gathering more facts “one of the biggest mistakes I’ve made” in 45 years in the Senate.

Tags Al Franken allegation of sexual misconduct comedians Massachusetts Minnesota Patrick Leahy Saturday Night Live Senate campaign

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