(UPI) — Minnesota Sen. Al Franken plans to resign from Congress in early January, a spokesman for the Democratic Senator said Wednesday.
Franken will officially step down on Jan. 2, after he announced his resignation earlier in December as several women made allegations of unwanted sexual advances and more than a dozen other Democratic Senators called for him to step down.
Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who was appointed by Gov. Mark Dayton, will be sworn in to replace Franken the next day.
A special election to permanently fill the seat will be held in November 2018. Smith said she intends to run for the opportunity to carry out the remainder of Franken’s term, which ends in 2020.
Franken, who was first elected to the Senate in 2008 and won re-election in 2014, said serving in the Senate “has been a great honor of my life,” upon announcing his resignation on Dec. 7.
In November, a photo of Franken acting as if he were touching a woman’s breasts as she slept during a USO performance tour overseas in 2006 emerged. The woman pictured said Franken forcibly kissed her during a rehearsal and groped her through a flak vest she wore traveling from Afghanistan to Los Angeles.
Several other women later reported they’d been harassed by Franken in some form, both before and after he was elected to the Senate.
He also said some of the allegations against him are “simply not true,” saying in particular he didn’t recall the rehearsal the same way, while offering an apology.
Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., also retired earlier this month amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
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