Franken Resigns In Emotional Speech, Denies Some Allegations

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"I may be resigning my seat, but I am not giving up my voice", Franken said.

With his staff lining the wall of the Senate chamber, waving at him in support, and several of his Democratic colleagues watching his remarks with grim expressions, Franken noted that "all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously", but defiantly claimed that some of the allegations against him are "simply not true".

"Over the last few weeks a number of women have come forward to talk about how my actions had affected them", said Franken. "Others I remember very differently".

Contrast that with Franken's statement, at a news conference late last month, that, "there are some women, and one is too many, who feel that I have done something disrespectful that's hurt them, and for that I am tremendously sorry". And while it isn't a ideal 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.

Franken had been popular on the Democratic Party fundraising circuit until the sexual misconduct allegations arose.

Franken apologized for his behavior after earlier accusations and said he would cooperate with a Senate Ethics Committee investigation.

Franken's departure is a headache for Democrats, exposing another seat in a midterm election that already had them defending two dozen incumbents. Holmes is also a former aide to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is largely responsible for candidate recruiting in his drive to retain a majority.

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Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday morning, December 7, 2017.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer called him immediately after the Politico story appeared and said he needed to relinquish his Senate seat, according to a person familiar with the events.

In the Senate, in addition to casting what was arguably the deciding vote to pass the Affordable Care Act, Franken has focused on advocating for the rights of women. "I have earned a reputation as someone who respects the women I work alongside every day", Franken said.

"I would do it all over again in a heartbeat", he said.

Franken went on to speak with media outlets in his home state of Minnesota, saying he was "embarrassed and ashamed", but hoped to regain the trust of those he let down.

She was joined by Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Patty Murray of Washington, Kamala Harris of California and Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire, who issued statements in a coordinated effort that is likely to jeopardize Mr. Franken's political future.

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