clear
Monday December 11th, 2017 12:19PM

Franken's resignation triggers a rush to replace him

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Sen. Al Franken's announcement Thursday that he will resign triggers a mad-dash special election in 2018 to finish the Minnesota Democrat's term, with former Gov. Tim Pawlenty seen as a top possibility for Republicans to cash in an unforeseen pickup chance.

Franken said he would step down "in the coming weeks" after a series of sexual misconduct allegations caused support in his own party to collapse.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton — a Democrat — will appoint a replacement to serve until the November 2018 election that would fill the seat until Franken's six-year term expires in 2020.

Dayton said he hadn't decided on an appointee but expected to do so within two days. A top candidate would be his lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, a former chief of staff who had considered and then rejected a possible governor bid next year.

Meanwhile, eyes are already turning to the 2018 race.

For Republicans, Franken's exit could saddle Democrats with enough baggage to help the GOP break through in a statewide election for the first time in more than a decade. Republicans haven't won since Gov. Tim Pawlenty won a second term in 2006.

Top Republicans quickly contacted Pawlenty and former Sen. Norm Coleman, who narrowly lost the 2008 Senate race to Franken after an extensive recount.

Coleman immediately said he would not run, posting on his personal Facebook page that he's focused on his chairmanship of the Republican Jewish Coalition and other roles.

But Pawlenty has been weighing a return to elected office since he chose not to seek a third term as governor in 2010, and after mounting an unsuccessful campaign for the presidential nomination. He's been meeting with party leaders, shuttling between his home in suburban Minneapolis and Washington, where he works as CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable.

State House Speaker Kurt Daudt has been openly considering a bid for governor for months. After narrowly losing to Dayton in 2010, Rep. Tom Emmer, a Republican representing Minnesota's most conservative congressional district, could look at another statewide run after two terms in the House.

Democratic candidates for governor could be best positioned to switch to a Senate bid, having spent months connecting with party activists and the donors who would be critical for a costly election. State Rep. Erin Murphy, longtime Minnesota Rep. Tim Walz and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman are all running.

For both the Dayton appointment and in next November's election, female candidates would appear to have an inside track as a clear response to the allegations against Franken. Franken himself appeared to push for a woman to replace him, saying Minnesota needed a senator who could "focus all her energy" on the job.

Smith was the name most frequently mentioned for the temporary appointment. She is a longtime political operative known largely for behind-the-scenes work, having been Dayton's chief of staff from 2011 through 2014 before stepping up as his running mate.

She ran former Vice President Walter Mondale's brief U.S. Senate campaign in 2002 after Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash. She also served as a top executive at Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Dayton could also look to a pair of fellow Democratic statewide elected officials: Attorney General Lori Swanson or State Auditor Rebecca Otto.

Dayton also could choose to send a loud signal against sexual harassment with his appointment, naming someone such as Rep. Erin Maye Quade to Franken's seat. Maye Quade is a Democratic state lawmaker who, along with other women, accused two fellow state lawmakers of sexual harassment, resulting in their resignation last month.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General Senate Election News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
The Latest: Shooter among dead in New Mexico school shooting
Authorities say three people are dead following a shooting at a New Mexico high school
1:03PM ( 5 minutes ago )
Franken's resignation triggers a rush to replace him
Sen. Al Franken's announcement Thursday that he will resign triggers a mad-dash special election in 2018 to finish the Minnesota Democrat's term
1:03PM ( 5 minutes ago )
GOP leaves little doubt they'll prevent government shutdown
Top Republicans are all but guaranteeing that the House will approve legislation preventing a weekend partial government shutdown
1:00PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Minnesota gov. hasn't chosen Franken replacement
Minnesota Republicans are reaching out to former Gov. Tim Pawlenty about running in a race to replace Sen. Al Franken
12:39PM ( 28 minutes ago )
Trump administration praises Honduras amid election crisis
The administration of President Donald Trump is certifying Honduras' progress in protecting human rights and attacking corruption even as the country struggles with a deepening electoral crisis
12:38PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Franken announces resignation from Senate amid allegations
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said on Thursday that he will resign from the Senate in coming weeks following a wave of sexual misconduct allegations and a collapse of support from his Democratic colleagues, a swift political fall for a once-rising Democratic
12:36PM ( 32 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Announcement coming from Sen. Franken amid fresh accusations
A majority of the Senate's Democrats are calling on Minnesota Sen. Al Franken to quit after another woman accused him of forcibly trying to kiss her
11:38AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: Director refutes Trump on FBI's reputation
President Donald Trump says the FBI's reputation is in "tatters." But agency director Christopher Wray says, "My experience has been that our reputation is quite good."
11:29AM ( 1 hour ago )
The Latest: GOP: We have enough votes for short-term budget
The drama over whether the House will pass legislation preventing a weekend partial government shutdown is essentially over
11:16AM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Congress News
Tillerson says Ukraine is a sticking point in US-Russia ties
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Ukraine is the sole sticking point keeping the U.S. and Russia from forging a closer relationship
11:33AM ( 1 hour ago )
Thousands of Catalans rally, feeling abandoned by the EU
Tens of thousands of people from Catalonia rally in Brussels to complain about what they see as the European Union's failure to help them following a failed independence referendum in the Spanish region
11:12AM ( 1 hour ago )
Tillerson: US, Russia could normalize ties but for Ukraine
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is holding up the Ukraine crisis as the sole issue keeping the United States and Russia from forging a closer relationship, arguing that all other disputes are secondary
8:14AM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Elections
Bannon lambastes GOP leaders in bitter Alabama Senate race
Populist firebrand Steve Bannon has issued a fiery call to rally Alabama voters behind Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore and savaged national Republican leaders
2:53PM ( 22 hours ago )
Hatch denounces Bannon attack on Romney, Mormon church
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah is lashing out at former White House adviser Steve Bannon for his attack on Mitt Romney and the Mormon Church
11:56AM ( 1 day ago )
GOP moved to back Moore, despite allegations
Republican leaders in Washington are coming to grips with the possibility _ perhaps even probability _ of Alabama's Roy Moore in the U.S. Senate
11:12AM ( 1 day ago )
General Senate Election News
The Latest: Shooter among dead in New Mexico school shooting
Authorities say three people are dead following a shooting at a New Mexico high school
1:03PM ( 5 minutes ago )
GOP leaves little doubt they'll prevent government shutdown
Top Republicans are all but guaranteeing that the House will approve legislation preventing a weekend partial government shutdown
1:00PM ( 8 minutes ago )
Pearl Harbor survivors remember those killed 76 years ago
Survivors have gathered at the site of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to remember fellow servicemen killed in the early morning raid 76 years ago
12:59PM ( 9 minutes ago )
The Latest: FBI chief says hacker targets can be hard to ID
FBI director Christopher Wray says that identifying hacking targets can be "harder than you might think."
12:55PM ( 13 minutes ago )
FBI director defends his agency against Trump's attacks
FBI Director Christopher Wray is defending his agency amid blistering criticism from President Donald Trump and says, "There is no finer institution, and no finer people, than the men and women who work there."
12:50PM ( 18 minutes ago )