MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota Senator Al Franken says he “crossed a line for some women” and wants to make sure that never happens again.
The Democrat’s latest apology comes amid allegations that he groped four women over the past decade. The senator said he’s a “warm person” and he feels terribly that some found his greetings or hugs inappropriate.
As Franken tries to regain trust, two state lawmakers are stepping down following accusations of their own.
Allegations of sexual harassment by Minnesota lawmakers have changed the landscape at the State Capitol and beyond.
“The days are over when men can sexually harass women in Minnesota politics. The costs are clear,” political analyst Larry Jacobs said.
This week DFL Senator Dan Schoen resigned amid sexual misconduct accusations by three women. While he refutes the claims, he will step aside Dec. 15.
And Republican Representative Tony Cornish apologized for his behavior after a lobbyist came forward accusing him of sexual harassment. His resignation takes effect Dec. 1.
Jacobs thinks Cornish’s seat will stay Republican but Schoen’s vacancy could tilt the balance of power.
“Senator Schoen, who stepped down, comes from a district that is more competitive, and we’re already seeing a number of Republicans jump in to possibly take that DFL seat,” Jacobs said.
Two more women came forward this week with accusations Franken groped them, bringing the total to four.
“Al Franken is clearly diminished as a politician and a fair question for Minnesotans to ask is can he be an effective advocate for Minnesota?” Jacobs said.
Jacobs says the extent of the fallout is not yet clear.
“If Al Franken has come to the end of the accusations then he may well survive as other news stories come to the fore, but if we see a pattern of drip, drip, drip of accusations it will be very hard for Al Franken to move past that,” Jacobs said.