Al Franken Keeping 'Options Open' on Return to Politics

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September 13, 2021

Disgraced former Democratic senator Al Franken says he is keeping his political "options open."

Franken, who has returned to stand-up comedy since he resigned from the U.S. Senate in 2018 after multiple women accused him of sexual harassment, told a Massachusetts paper that he is considering another bid for public office. "I'm keeping my options open," Franken told the Republican.

Franken's soon-to-begin comedy tour, "The Only Former U.S. Senator Currently on Tour," is an attempt by the two-term senator to impact politics from outside Washington, D.C. "I believe comedy and satire is a very valid way—and sometimes almost a more productive way—of affecting public opinion," Franken said.

Franken also criticized his Democratic colleagues for forcing him out without giving him a chance to defend himself. "I wanted due process, but I had 36 colleagues and a majority leader who wouldn't give it to me, so it was impossible. But you do have some regrets. It was a very weird, tough situation at that moment," Franken said. "I love the Senate. I love the work that I did."

It is unclear when Franken will have an opportunity to return to the Senate. His party holds both of the state's seats in the legislative body, and neither Sens. Amy Klobuchar nor Tina Smith has indicated any intention of stepping aside. Minnesota's Democratic governor Tim Walz is also running for reelection.

Franken has maintained his political fundraising operation through his political action committee, Midwest Values PAC, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars this year even with Franken on the political sidelines. The committee raises money using ActBlue, which earlier this year kicked New York Democrat Andrew Cuomo off the fundraising platform due to accusations of sexual misconduct. ActBlue has not responded to requests for comment on Franken's status on the platform.