Despite allegations, some Minnesotans want Franken to stay in Senate

Al Franken at a 2010 rally
Sen. Al Franken speaks at a Get Out the Vote rally for Mark Dayton at the University of Minnesota in 2010.
Caroline Yang | MPR News file

As sexual misconduct allegations and calls to resign pile up against Democratic Sen. Al Franken, some Minnesotans want their senator to stay in office.

MPR News reported Wednesday afternoon that Franken was planning to resign. The senator's office pushed back on that report and said he hasn't made a "final decision."

"Franken's Democratic detractors need to grow up, grow a spine, and support one of their own in change. They should demand the unrepentant president's resignation.

Franken is expected to make a public statement on Thursday.

Many of the 320 and counting people who have responded to a query on Franken in MPR's Public Insight Network said they wanted their senator to remain in office, even if they're disappointed in Franken's past behavior and alleged actions.

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"I believe women have a right to their allegations, and if any part is true it needs to be investigated. I also believe Sen. Franken has apologized and if accepted by the woman bringing the allegation, then he or the woman's story should not continue to be in the media," wrote Katherine Hanson of Eden Prairie.

Several responses described a double standard in politics regarding how the Franken allegations are being treated compared with those against Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama and President Trump.

Multiple women have said Moore pursued relationships and sexual encounters with them while they were teens and Moore was in his 30s. Moore is running in next week's special election to fill one of Alabama's seats in the U.S. Senate, and he has Trump's endorsement.

More than a dozen women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, and he has been taped bragging about groping women, as reported during the presidential campaign.

"I still like Sen. Franken. Seems to me like we've got a witch hunt going on," writes Janet Anderson of St. Paul. "The calls for him to step down are all out of proportion to what I have heard him accused of, and all out of proportion to the bad actions of Mr. Trump and Roy Moore, who are not being asked (yet) to step down & let people who have better manners ( and respect for the law and for women) fill their spots."

Susan Thompson said Franken has been an "honest" Senator for Minnesota.

"He has apologized, unlike his Republican counterparts. To those that feel Al Franken should step down, well then, let's apply that notion across the board and call for the removal of Roy Moore and Donald Trump," Thompson wrote.

John Evans, a 63-year-old from St. Paul, wrote that the response to the Franken allegations has been disproportionate compared to Republicans facing misconduct allegations.

"Franken's Democratic detractors need to grow up, grow a spine, and support one of their own in change," Evans wrote. "They should demand the unrepentant president's resignation.

Some Minnesotans seemed to agree with the bulk of Senate Democrats calling for Franken to resign, though.

Raj Rajan of Lakeville said Franken can reflect on his past, but he should do so while not serving in the Senate.

"We need zero-tolerance for such behavior," Rajan wrote. "The courage of all the brave women who have come forward, the outcome of the 2016 elections and the potential outcome of the Alabama Senate Special Elections should inspire and guide lasting change towards gender equity in our society."