MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Mark Dayton’s office says there will be no announcement Tuesday on who he’ll nominate to replace Sen. Al Franken. Meanwhile the fallout from Franken’s announcement that he will resign continues.
Nearly 70,000 people have signed a Change.org petition supporting Franken, and urging him to stay in the Senate. The senator has even gotten support from two high profile Republicans — former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Governor Arne Calrson.
Appearing on Fox News, Gingrich said Senator Franken should not be leaving the Senate.
“He has never had an opportunity to face his accusers, he has never had due process, he never has had an opportunity clear his name,” Gingrich said.
Former Governor Carlson agrees.
“That seat belongs to Minnesotans,” he said. “The way people are talking in Washington is that somehow it belongs to them. It does not.”
Analysts believe the defense of Franken by some high profile Republicans is linked to President Trump and Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore, who both face their own allegations of sexual misconduct.
“In the case of Gingrich — if Franken resigns on what he considers allegations, then it forces the same treatment for Roy Moore [who] either shouldn’t get elected, or if elected he should get thrown out of the Senate,” political science professor David Schultz said.
Schultz does not think there is a chance Franken, who faced pressure to resign from dozens of top Democrats, will reconsider.
“He has lost the confidence of his colleagues,” Schultz said.
Meanwhile, speculation is mounting over who Gov. Dayton will appoint as Franken’s replacement. Dayton is widely expected to pick a woman, and among the top names circulating are Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, state auditor Rebecca Otto, Attorney General Lori Swanson, state Rep. Melissa Hortman and state Sen. Melisa Franzen.
Franzen for one says she would like the job.
“It’s very flattering to be considered, and I think we, the younger generation, have a different voice to bring to the debate here at the state level, or the federal level,” she said.
Franken has not issued an statement since his speech five days ago announcing he would resign in a matter of weeks. A top Franken aide said the senator has no final date for his resignation, but is not changing his mind.
The Senate election in Alabama featuring Roy Moore and Doug Jones is Tuesday.