Al Franken To Leave Senate On January 2nd
Ending any speculation that he was going to change his mind, Minnesota Senator Al Franken has announced that he will be leaving the Senate effective on January 2nd:
Al Franken will resign from the Senate on Jan. 2, his office said Wednesday, ending any uncertainty over whether he would reverse course after announcing earlier this month that he would step down amid a sexual misconduct scandal.
Franken’s office also announced that Tina Smith, the Democratic lieutenant governor tapped to succeed him, is expected to be sworn into the Senate on Jan. 3. Franken began collaborating with Smith on a transition soon after she was tapped by Democratic Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.
It was earlier this week, of course, that two members of the Senate Democratic caucus, both men. expressed some doubt over whether Franken should have been forced aside in the wake of the sexual impropriety allegations made against him starting in November. These Senators, Joe Manchin and Pat Leahy, suggested that Franken was forced aside for political reasons and that he should have stayed in office and submitted to an investigation by the Ethics Committee. As I noted at the time, Manchin and Leahy were the only Democratic Senators to make such a call and that none of the other Senate Democrats joined them in expressing that sentiment. As I said at the time, it was unlikely Franken would take this step, not the least because doing so would end up blocking a woman from succeeding him.