Minnesota Sen. Al Franken announced Thursday that he will resign from the Senate in the coming weeks, in a speech on the Senate floor.
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“This decision is not about me, it’s about the people of Minnesota,” Franken said. “It has become clear that I can’t both pursue the Ethics Committee process and at the same time remain an effective senator for them.”
A number of women have accused Franken of unwanted touching. He denied some of the allegations and said he remembers some of the encounters “very differently.”
On Wednesday a majority of his Democratic colleagues in the Senate, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, said it was time for him to step aside.
If Franken leaves Congress before the end of May, that will prompt a special election in Minnesota next November, with a regularly scheduled election for the seat in November 2020.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, a Democrat, will appoint an interim senator.
But under state law, if a seat is vacated less than 11 weeks before the next regularly scheduled primary, the special election will be scheduled for the second November election after the vacancy. The next primary is set for Aug. 14, 2018, so if Franken vacates his seat after May 29, an election will not be held until 2020, and his appointed replacement will serve until January 2021. That is the regularly scheduled end of Franken’s term, so whoever wins the 2020 election will serve a full six-year term.
After Franken’s announcement Thursday, Dayton said he has not yet decided whom he will appoint to fill the upcoming vacancy but expects to make his decision known in the “next couple of days.”
Democratic strategists in Washington and Minnesota told ABC News they expect Dayton will chose a woman.
“I think it would be a great opportunity for us,” Alex Boutrous, the president of Minnesota’s Young…