By Pat Kessler

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It was not a graceful goodbye, and it was not a healing speech.

It was a political speech from one of the most outspoken progressives in the country. And it was a defiant speech in which Sen. Al Franken denied some of the allegations against him, and singled out the president for sexual misconduct.

Franken certainly reflected the feelings of his supporters, who are fiercely defending him on social media.

His resignation will end a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into his alleged misconduct, but it will also end whatever hopes he had of exonerating himself. His resignation had a hard political edge.

“Al Franken did not step up to the plate today and take personal responsibility for his conduct,” Dr. Larry Jacobs with the Humphrey School of Public Policy said. “Instead, his statement was, I thought, quite political and in some ways ineffective for the Minnesotans who feel hurt and confused by his actions.”

Franken says he will resign in the next few weeks which will set in motion a series of events. Gov. Mark Dayton will announce a replacement in the next few days.

In a statement, he extended his “deepest regrets to the women, who have had to endure their unwanted experiences with Senator Franken.”

Dayton is expected to appoint a Democrat to replace him, and very likely a woman. Lt. Governor Tina Smith is considered a front-runner.

Franken’s replacement will serve less than a year, until a special election in November 2018. The winner of the special election will serve out the last two years of Franken’s term, until 2020.

Also on the ballot next fall are the Senate seat held by Amy Klobuchar, and the currently wide-open race for governor.


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