Franken makes Senate resignation official

Franken makes Senate resignation official
© Camille Fine

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 (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 EllisonIlhan Omar defends 2012 tweet: 'I don't know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans' States scramble to fill void left by federal shutdown 116th Congress breaks records for women, minority lawmakers MORE and Tim WalzTimothy (Tim) James WalzCoalition urges Congress to pass bipartisan infrastructure bill As it applies to veterans, it is time for pay-go to go States scramble to fill void left by federal shutdown 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.