Minnesotans Don’t Want Al Franken To Resign And They Are Right

A recent poll shows that Minnesotans support outgoing Democratic senator Al Franken in a big way — so big, in fact, that at least half of those polled don’t want him to go through with the resignation, according to The Hill.

Minnesotans Show Al Franken Some Love

The poll, conducted by Public Policy,  found that 42 percent of Minnesotans want Franken to resign, while 72 percent of Democrats don’t want the embattled senator, who has been accused of sexual misconduct, to resign.

And out of those polled, 53 percent approve of the job Franken has been doing, as opposed to 42 percent who don’t approve. His approval rate among women is a bit higher, with 57 percent noting that they approve of the job he’s been doing, as opposed to 37 percent who say they don’t.

The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, was conducted from Dec. 26 through Dec. 27 among 671 Minnesota voters.

Franken announced his resignation from the Senate earlier this month in a fiery floor speech. During the speech, he said some of the allegations were not true and further said he his memory differs in regards to some of the others.

Before his decision, Franken was bombarded by his colleagues to resign. Many of those calls came from Senate Democrats, including Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. She had this to say in a Facebook post:

“I have been shocked and disappointed to learn over the last few weeks that a colleague I am fond of personally has engaged in behavior towards women that is unacceptable.”

She continued:

“While Senator Franken is entitled to have the Ethics Committee conclude its review, I believe it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve.”

The Senate Ethics Committee opened an inquiry into the allegations in late November.

A spokesman for the senator has said Franken will step down effectively January 2, The Hill reports.

But here’s what I’m wondering right now: Will Franken’s departure destabilize Minnesota’s Democratic base? Governor Mark Dayton, who’s also (fortunately) a Democrat, has chosen Tina Smith, the state’s Democratic lieutenant governor to fill Franken’s rather large shoes temporarily.

Smith said she would run in the 2018 special election so that she can finish Franken’s term, which ends in 2020. Kudos to her for being strong, but she may find herself running against the state’s former governor, Tim Pawlenty, CBS News reports. Pawlenty says he is retired from politics, but he is mulling the possibility of running in the special election. And Republicans are chomping at the bit over this.

And this should give you pause because he’s the president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, an organization that lobbies on behalf of banks, credit card companies, and other financial services agencies.

Quite obviously this organization isn’t lobbying on behalf of everyday people.

But whatever Al Franken’s faults may be, he continually works on behalf of his constituents. I agree with those Minnesotans who don’t want him to step down.

I’m worried that the 2018 special election could be a real game-changer. And not in a good way.

Featured image via YouTube video.