WASHINGTON – As calls for Sen. Al Franken’s resignation continue to grow, one progressive group already has a replacement in mind.
Last week, Leeann Tweeden, who is a news anchor for a morning radio show, said Franken “kissed and groped” her without consent while on a USO Tour overseas in 2006.
“You forcibly kissed me without my consent, grabbed my breasts while I was sleeping and had someone take a photo of you doing it, knowing I would see it later, and be ashamed,” Tweeden wrote in a post on KABC’s website.
Despite vowing to cooperate with a Senate ethics investigation, some are calling for Franken’s resignation.
Justice Democrats, a progressive group run by former Bernie Sanders campaign staffers, launched a petition Thursday calling for Franken to resign his seat and be replaced by Rep. Keith Ellison.
“It would be profoundly hypocritical for Democrats to stand by Franken in this moment,” Justice Democrats wrote on the petition. “We can’t tolerate harassment or assault.”
If Franken were to resign, Gov. Mark Dayton would make a special appointment replacing the senator until the 2018 election cycle. The petition, which has over 7,000 signatures, calls for Dayton to appoint Ellison.
In a statement obtained by the Washington Times, Justice Democrats executive director Saikat Chakrabarti said Ellison has “a proven track record of integrity and fighting for progressive principles.” Last week, Ellison told the Washington Examiner that he was “deeply disturbed” by the allegations against Franken. He has not responded to those calling for him to replace Franken.
As calls for resignation grow, Franken shows no signs of intending to relinquish his seat. When asked if the senator will resign, a spokesperson for Franken told the Star Tribune “no.”
“He is spending time with his family in Washington, D.C., and will be through the Thanksgiving holiday, and he’s doing a lot of reflecting,” the spokesperson told the Star Tribune.