MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — After two more women accused Al Franken of sexual misconduct Wednesday, the Minnesota senator seems poised to resign.
More than 20 Senate Democrats and several prominent Democratic leaders called for Franken’s resignation Wednesday after a woman accused him of trying to forcibly kiss her in 2006, and another said he groped her while taking a photo in 2009. Now, Sen. Franken is planning to “make an announcement” Thursday morning.
If the senator chooses to resign, Gov. Mark Dayton — a Democrat — will choose an interim replacement. The resignation would also trigger a special election in November 2018, where a replacement will be elected to serve until another election in 2020.
The election of both Minnesota senators and the governor in one election is a rare occurrence. The last time it happened was in 1978 — a chaotic year for Minnesota politics. Democrats occupied all three of those offices that year, and due to various circumstances, none of them were elected to their seats in the first place.
When Senator Walter Mondale was elected vice president with Jimmy Carter in 1976, Gov. Wendell Anderson resigned his post and arranged for his lieutenant govenor, Rudy Perpich, to appoint him to the vacant seat. The move proved to be politically unpopular, and he was soundly defeated by Republican Rudy Boschwitz in 1978.
Minnesota’s other Senate seat was vacated in January 1978 after 66-year-old Sen. Hubert Humphrey’s death from bladder cancer. Gov. Perpich nominated Humphrey’s widow, Muriel, to hold the seat until the special election later that fall. She opted not to run for the seat herself, and businessman Bob Short won the DFL nomination later that year. He ultimately lost in a landslide to Republican David Durenberger.
In the governor’s race, Anderson’s appointment to the Senate hurt Perpich, too. He lost to Republican Al Quie by seven points.