Al Franken announces resignation from the Senate

NEW YORK NY- MARCH 30  Comedian Al Franken performs at the Air America Radio Launch Party

Part of the reason for picking Smith, according to the sources, is she has indicated in the past she has no interest in running for a D.C. office, and would therefore create an open Democratic primary in 2018, which would be held to fill the final two years of Franken's term ending in 2020.

There was something missing from Al Franken's speech on Thursday.

Multiple women accused Franken of inappropriately touching them or attempting to kiss them. "I'm going to be just fine". "But I know who I really am".

When Franken steps down, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton will pick a successor who will serve until a special election next year.

The former aide who spoke to Politico said the incident took place after a taping of Franken's radio show, before he was a senator. "Others I remember very different". Amy Klobuchar tweeted a response to the news on Wednesday afternoon: "Sexual harassment is unacceptable. I am confident he will make the right decision". Franken has specifically denied at least one of the allegations, and has responded less clearly, or not at all, to others, ABC News reports. "The truth is, what people think of me in light of this is far less important than what people think of women who continue to come forward to tell their stories". "We were finally beginning to listen to women in the ways in which men's actions affect them".

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With support from fellow Democrats vanishing, Franken had a stark decision to make: heed the calls to leave, and allow the party to close ranks and try to gain the moral high ground amid a tidal wave of sexual harassment allegations that have lashed the political world - or stay and fight. "I was excited for that conversation and hopeful that it would result in real change that made life better for women all across the country and in every part of our society".

And most importantly, by offering a vague denial of the reports by his accusers, he encouraged voters to doubt and shame them.

"I'm shocked and appalled by Senator Franken's behaviour", said senator Patty Murray. He could do so in a way that helped a cause he claims to care about - protecting women from men's abuses of power - or he could preserve some of his own reputation at the cost of harming that cause. And while it isn't a flawless analogy because they weren't accused of sexual misconduct themselves, Missouri's Todd Akin and Indiana's Richard Mourdock lost highly winnable Senate races for Republicans in 2012 after making controversial comments about women who had been raped.

"I know in my heart that nothing I have done as a senator - nothing - has brought dishonour on this institution", Mr Franken said on Thursday.

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