by A.J. Kaufman
The two-term U.S. senator left office late in 2017 amid sexual misconduct allegations.
The Minnesotan’s departure was also about timing, with accused sexual harasser Roy Moore simultaneously in a tight U.S. Senate special election Democrats desperately needed to win.
Franken told a Massachusetts newspaper this week that he’s begun a political action committee and might make another run at public office.
“Well, I wanted due process, but I had 36 colleagues and a majority leader who wouldn’t give it to me, so it was impossible,” the 70-year-old told MassLive.com Monday. “But you do have some regrets. It was a very weird, tough situation at that moment.”
Prior to his near-decade as a politician, Franken performed on Saturday Night Live. Afterwards, he became a liberal activist, writing books, and hosting a talk show for the failed left-wing Air America Radio.
In 2019, he returned to comedy, but noted Monday, “I’m keeping my options open. Right now my focus is on doing this (tour) and doing other stuff that is more politically blatant.”
When Franken resigned his seat nearly four years ago, he disappointed supporters who hoped he would fight. Alpha News spoke with two left-leaning Minnesotans Monday afternoon about Franken’s potential re-emergence.
“I was disappointed because an investigation was about to be afforded him, yet he ran away,” a man in St. Cloud said. “If an elected official won’t stand up for himself if and when he is falsely accused, how can I expect him to stand up for his constituents?”
Another gentleman in Maple Grove is more sanguine.
“I donated to both of his campaigns and hoped he’d run for president in 2020,” he said. “He was thrown under the bus by leadership because of the timing. Remember, before entering politics, Al was a comedian, and his humor often was physical. Unfortunately, he continued that behavior in a D.C. environment where it isn’t accepted. Add the MeToo Movement, where boorish, bullying conduct no longer works. However, he apologized, resigned, and I hope he returns to the arena.”
Franken was replaced by Sen. Tina Smith, who’s every bit as radical, yet has won two statewide elections since.
If Franken returns to Minnesota politics, one wonders if he’d primary Sen. Amy Klobuchar in 2024, Smith in 2026, or embattled Gov. Tim Walz next year.
With his Twin Cities residence, however, a 2022 primary challenge to socialist U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar may be more plausible.
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A.J. Kaufman is the senior columnist for Alpha News. His work has appeared in RealClearPolitics, the Baltimore Sun, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Indianapolis Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Orange County Register, St. Cloud Times, and across the Internet. A University of California graduate with a degree in political science, Kaufman previously worked as a school teacher and military historian.
Photo “Al Franken” by Laurie Shaull CC2.0.