Franken makes Senate resignation official

Franken makes Senate resignation official
© Camille Fine

Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' Andrew Cuomo and the death of shame 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 EllisonMinnesota AG ups charges against ex-police officer in shooting of Daunte Wright Trump campaign, RNC refund donors another .8 million in 2021: NYT Attorneys general looking into online fundraising practices MORE and Tim WalzTim WalzJudge rejects Minnesota parents' attempt to force statewide school mask mandate Former Minnesota Senate Republican leader announces campaign for governor Minnesota parents sue Gov. Walz over lack of mask mandate in schools 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.