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What happens to Al Franken's Senate seat if he resigns?

Fox News 2017-12-07 03:46:36

Franken faces flood of calls for his resignation.


Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is expected to make an announcement Thursday morning after many of his colleagues have called on him to resign.

The Senate Ethics Committee announced last week that it had opened a “preliminary inquiry” into allegations that Franken groped, forcibly kissed and engaged in other sexually inappropriate behavior with multiple women.

Franken’s announcement comes on the heels of more than two dozen key Democratic lawmakers who have called for his resignation.

Should Franken, 66, step aside, here’s what would happen to his Senate seat, according to Minnesota election law.

1. Governor appoints a new senator

Gov. Mark Dayton would appoint a new senator to fill Franken’s seat, should he resign, Ryan Furlong, a spokesman for the Minnesota secretary of state’s office, told Fox News.

A Democrat, Minnesotans could expect Dayton to appoint a member of his own party.

The newly-appointed senator would be in office until at least Nov. 2018 when a special election would be scheduled. The appointed senator would not be obligated to run in that election.

Minnesota is one of 36 states where a governor will make an appointment to fill a U.S. Senate vacancy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. 

2. A special election is scheduled for November 2018

A special election would be scheduled for Nov. 2018 – and the winner would remain in the Senate for the remainder of what was Franken's term. That ends in Jan. 2021.


If a Senate vacancy occurs less than 11 weeks before Minnesota’s state primary in August 2018, then whoever the governor would appoint to the vacancy would remain until the next election, which is Nov. 2019, Furlong said.

3. The next full term begins in 2021

Whoever wins the special election in 2018 would also have to run again in 2020 – if he or she so chooses – in order to serve a full six-year term, Furlong said.

The next full Senate term would then begin in 2021. 

Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.