Senator Al Franken to Resign; Initial Ratings for 2018 Minnesota Special Election

December 7, 2017

Minnesota Senator Al Franken (D) announced his intention to resign in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday morning. Many of his Democratic colleagues had called for his resignation on Wednesday, after additional allegations of sexual harrassment became public. The date of his Senate departure has not yet been announced. 

The state's Democratic governor, Mark Dayton, will appoint Franken's replacement. Speculation is centering around the state's Lt. Gov., Tina Smith. Regardless of who is picked, a special election will be held, coinciding with the midterm elections on November 6th, 2018. The winner of that election will serve the final two years of the six-year term. The next regularly scheduled election will be in November, 2020.

Both Minnesota Senate seats will now be contested in 2018. While Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar seems a safe bet for reelection, this seat may be competitive. Franken initially won this seat by just 300 votes over Republican Norm Coleman in 2008. Additionally, although Minnesota hasn't voted Republican since 1972 - the longest such streak across the 50 states - Hillary Clinton only won here by 1.5%. 

Sabato's Crystal Ball starts this race as 'Leans Democrat'. Inside Elections says 'Likely Democrat', while the Cook Political Report has it as Toss-up. These varied ratings will likely coalesce once we know who the governor appoints, whether that person is likely to run again in 2018, and who the Republican nominee will be. The pundit analyses can be read in their entirety by clicking the respective links in this paragraph.

We are working to update our Senate interactive map to reflect the addition of a 2nd 2018 election in Minnesota. 

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