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Kamala Harris calls on Franken to resign

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) calls on Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) to leave office as allegations of sexual harassment against him continue to mount.

Posted: Dec 6, 2017 5:09 PM

Should Sen. Al Franken decide to step down, his resignation would set up a gubernatorial appointment and open up a new Senate battleground in 2018.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton does not plan to get ahead of Franken's scheduled announcement Thursday, a senior Minnesota Democrat close to Dayton told CNN, but the governor's "expectation and hope is for Franken to resign."

Should Franken step down, top names to replace him are Democratic Reps. Keith Ellison and Tim Walz, this official said. Another leading contender will be Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, a former chief of staff to Dayton.

"Don't overlook Lt. Governor Smith," the official said. "She could be the perfect choice."

Dayton, a former US senator, might also tap his former colleagues for advice in his pick, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "There will be an open line of communication," said the senior Democratic strategist.

The field of Democrats looking to succeed Dayton as governor might also be ripe for picking to fill Franken's seat. Attorney General Lori Swanson would be a particularly attractive candidate, said one senior Democratic strategist.

Come the 2018 midterm elections, the Senate seat would be up for grabs -- and would likely become a target for the Republican Party.

Republicans weighing a bid for governor could decide to look to the Senate instead, including Minnesota State House Speaker Kurt Daudt.

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty, also a former candidate for president, would also likely have the resources and connections to mount a serious campaign. Another GOP former presidential candidate, former Rep. Michele Bachmann, could also leverage her national profile to run for Senate.

Pawlenty has been weighing a bid for governor and has kept an active profile in Minnesota.

"Given his interest in foreign policy and federal policy, the Senate would be a great fit," said one Republican strategist who knows Pawlenty.

Among the Minnesota congressional delegation, Rep. Tom Emmer, who ran for governor in 2010, would be a potential GOP candidate to watch, said one GOP campaign strategist. Rep. Erik Paulsen is also viewed by Republicans as someone who is ambitious and well-regarded, and might be a natural Senate candidate, another Republican strategist added.

But GOP members of Congress, like Emmer and Paulsen, might be hesitant to run for Senate in 2018, an election year that strategists widely predict will be a challenging one for Republicans.

"I can't see any one of them making the jump in a cycle like this," said the second Republican strategist.

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Cases: 1104763

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CountyCasesDeaths
Cook4460359268
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Will59914891
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Pike160648
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Hardin3128
Pope2583
Unassigned1110
Out of IL340

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 613228

Reported Deaths: 9728
CountyCasesDeaths
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Vanderburgh19610250
Tippecanoe18108141
Johnson15191295
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Hendricks14485250
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Clark10811144
Vigo10795181
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Hancock6782104
Bartholomew6640100
Floyd6507110
Wayne6177162
Grant6027116
Dubois558680
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Morgan548695
Henry511464
Marshall506984
Cass486964
Dearborn486545
Noble475659
Jackson427747
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Lawrence393780
Clinton375044
Gibson374459
Harrison353045
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Montgomery347654
Knox336239
Miami324544
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Wells236951
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Clay224332
Randolph215248
Jennings200636
Sullivan193533
Spencer193022
Washington188023
Fountain184927
Starke176444
Jay168623
Owen167637
Fulton164830
Orange160935
Carroll159715
Rush156318
Perry155929
Vermillion149734
Franklin149333
Tipton133133
Parke13088
Pike118526
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Pulaski97837
Newton92021
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Crawford8099
Martin74913
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Union6297
Ohio4977
Unassigned0376