Franken makes Senate resignation official

Franken makes Senate resignation official
© Camille Fine

Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenPolitical world mourns loss of comedian Jerry Stiller Maher to Tara Reade on timing of sexual assault allegation: 'Why wait until Biden is our only hope?' Democrats begin to confront Biden allegations MORE (D-Minn.) officially submitted his resignation on Tuesday after being pressured late last year to step down in the face of sexual misconduct allegations.

“I am grateful to Minnesotans for giving me the chance to serve our state and our nation, and I am proud to have worked on their behalf,” Franken wrote in the letter to Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D).

Franken’s replacement, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D), will be sworn in on Wednesday.

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Multiple women came forward toward the end of 2017 to accuse Franken of kissing or groping them without consent. Franken apologized and initially indicated he would not resign. 

However, after roughly two dozen of his Democratic colleagues called on him to step down, Franken announced in a defiant floor speech that he would step away from the Senate, eventually giving a timeframe of early January.

Dayton picked Smith to temporarily fill Franken’s seat until voters could choose a successor during a special election in November. However, Smith said she intends to run later this year to serve the remaining two years of Franken’s term.

She is unlikely to face a primary challenge after prominent Minnesota Democrats, including Reps. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonOVERNIGHT ENERGY: DOJ whistleblower says California emissions probe was 'abuse of authority' | EPA won't defend policy blocking grantees from serving on boards | Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change Minnesota sues Exxon, others over climate change Minneapolis police union says members have been 'scapegoated by political leaders' MORE and Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzJudge in George Floyd case tells attorneys, officials, family to limit public statements Internal watchdog investigating if Air Force improperly used plane to surveil protests: report The Hill's 12:30 Report: Governors react as COVID-19 cases spike MORE, announced they would support Smith’s candidacy. 

Republicans have yet to settle on a front-runner for the special election, though some have floated former Gov. Tim Pawlenty as a possibility.

The 2018 special election will determine who serves out the remaining two years of Franken’s term. The winner of this year’s race would have to run again in 2020 to earn a full, six-year term.