Al Franken to make announcement on Senate floor
(KMSP) - Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota will announce whether or not he is resigning from the U.S. Senate in a speech from the Senate floor at 11:45 a.m. ET (10:45 a.m. CT). A majority of Senate Democrats called for Franken to resign Wednesday amid the latest allegations of sexual misconduct. At least eight women have accused Franken of sexual harassment or misconduct.
You can watch Franken's announcement live at fox9.com/live and facebook.com/fox9kmsp. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, the announcement and continuing coverage will be live on Fox 9.
Following multiple media reports that Franken would announce his resignation Thursday, Franken's official Twitter account posted the following message: "Senator Franken is talking with his family at this time and plans to make an announcement in D.C. tomorrow. Any reports of a final decision are inaccurate."
IF FRANKEN RESIGNS, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? The announcement would have a large political ripple effect as politicians fight to fill his vacant seat, likely bringing a national spotlight to Minnesota's 2018 election.
It all depends when the resignation would take effect. Once in effect, Governor Mark Dayton would be able to appoint a person to take the seat temporarily. The seat would then be on the ballot in the November 2018 election, marking a trifecta of high-profile races which would include Senator Amy Klobuchar's seat and the gubernatorial race.
"It could be the most expensive election cycle in Minnesota history," said David Schultz, a professor of political science at Hamline University.
Schultz projects as much as $100 million could be spent during the election cycle.
The race would also make history, marking the first time since 1978 that both Minnesota Senate seats would be open at the same time.
LATEST ALLEGATIONS: In a report published Wednesday, a woman told POLITICO that Franken tried to forcibly kiss her following a taping of his radio show in 2006. A former Democratic congressional aide, who was not identified by POLITICO, said Franken pursued her after her boss left the studio. When she tried to avoid him, she claims he told her: "It's my right as an entertainer."
Franken, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by several other women, denied the latest accusation.
"This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous," Franken said in a statement. "I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation."
A second woman came forward with an accusation against Franken Wednesday afternoon. In an article for The Atlantic, writer Tina Dupuy said Franken groped her while they were taking a photo together at a Media Matters party in 2009.
"We posed for the shot. He immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice," she wrote.
PREVIOUS FRANKEN ALLEGATIONS: Radio host Leeann Tweeden was the first woman to come forward, accusing Franken of kissing and groping her while on a USO tour in 2006. She also released a photo of Franken grinning and reaching for her chest, as if to grope her, while she slept on a military aircraft during the tour.
Four other women have also accused Franken of unwanted touching.
Stephanie Kremplin, a U.S. Army veteran, told CNN Franken cupped her breast during a photo opportunity when he was visiting American troops in the Middle East with the USO in December 2003.
Lindsay Menz of Frisco, Texas also told CNN Franken grabbed her buttocks while they were taking a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.
Two more women, whose identities were not revealed, told the Huffington Post that Franken grabbed their buttocks during separate incidents at campaign events in 2007 and 2008.