The Right Thing To Do Or 'Political Stunt'? Experts Disagree On Franken Resignation

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., became the second prominent Democrat this week to resign in disgrace under pressure from his own party after being accused of sexual misconduct Wednesday, a development the outgoing senator eagerly contrasted with the Republican National Committee boosting support for a Senate candidate facing allegations of predatory behavior.

In a defensive speech on the Senate floor, Franken maintained that many allegations against him are untrue and he believes he would have prevailed in an Ethics Committee investigation, but he acknowledged he cannot effectively serve his constituents while fighting that battle. He will therefore resign “in the coming weeks.”

Earlier in the week, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., announced he was retiring immediately amid growing sexual harassment claims against him. Some Democrats are also pressing Rep. Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., to step down over alleged improper behavior toward a campaign fundraiser.

Republican strategist Ford O’Connell took a more cynical view of what he deemed a “political stunt.” 

“I would say the Democrats forcing out Sen. Franken is hardly a profile in political courage. It was an easy call. They lose nothing politically,” he said, noting that both Franken and Conyers will be replaced by Democrats.

None of this changes the political calculations for Republicans who are backing Moore, according to O’Connell, because they see through Democrats’ strategy.

“They want to make Roy Moore the hood ornament that they can tie around Republicans’ necks as they head into the 2018 elections,” he said.

Read more from Stephen Loiaconi at WJLA

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Analysis & Political Strategy