Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., submitted an official letter of resignation on Tuesday, cutting short his tenure in the U.S. Senate after several of his colleagues urged him to resign late last year amid multiple allegations of sexual misconduct.
“I am grateful to Minnesotans for giving me the chance to serve our state and our nation, and I am proud to have worked on their behalf,” Franken said in his letter to Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.
Tina Smith, Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, will be sworn in to fill Franken’s seat on Wednesday. A special election will be held in November for the seat and Smith has indicated she plans on running to fill the final two years of Franken’s term.
The controversy surrounding Franken started late last year when Leeann Tweeden, a radio host and former sports commentator, publicly accused Franken of forcefully kissing her when the two were practicing a skit as part of a USO tour in the Middle East in 2006. She also said Franken groped her while she slept on the flight from Afghanistan after the tour ended. A photo was released that shows Franken, then a comedian before his political career, touching Tweeden’s breasts while she was sleeping.
Several other made similar accusations of sexual misconduct against Franken thereafter, including groping during photo opportunities.