Franken to resign in early January

Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenVirginia scandals pit Democrats against themselves and their message The Hill's Morning Report — Will Ralph Northam survive? Identity politics and the race for the Democratic nomination MORE will step down on Jan. 2, a spokesman for the Minnesota Democrat said Wednesday.

Franken announced earlier this month that he would resign from the Senate in the face of sexual harassment allegations. But he did not announce a date for when he would officially leave the chamber. 

Franken came under fire last month after multiple women accused him of inappropriately touching them. One woman said the comedian-turned-politician forcibly kissed her and groped her during a USO tour in 2006. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The allegations against Franken prompted numerous Democrats in the Senate to call for his resignation. The Senate Ethics Committee launched a probe into the allegations last month. 

In a defiant speech on the Senate floor earlier this month, Franken said he was confident that the ethics investigation would clear his name. But he said that he could not adequately represent his constituents while going through the Ethics Committee process, and announced that he would resign "in the coming weeks."

“I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice. I will continue to stand up for the things I believe in as a citizen and as an activist,” he said. “The Minnesotans deserve a senator who can focus with all her energy on addressing the challenges they face every day.”

A number of prominent men in politics, business, media and beyond have faced allegations of sexual misconduct in recent months. In the days surrounding Franken's resignation announcement, two other lawmakers, Reps. John ConyersJohn James ConyersDemocrats seek cosponsors for new 'Medicare for all' bill Virginia scandals pit Democrats against themselves and their message Women's March plans 'Medicare for All' day of lobbying in DC MORE Jr. (D-Mich.) and Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (R-Ariz.), said they would step down from Congress in the face of allegations.

Franken said earlier Wednesday that he would deliver a series of speeches on the Senate floor before he leaves the chamber.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, has tapped the state’s Democratic lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, to temporarily fill Franken’s Senate seat once he leaves the chamber. A special election for the seat is set for November 2018, and Smith said she intends to run to serve out the remainder of Franken’s term in office, which goes through 2020.

--This report was updated at 3:51 p.m.