Democratic Sen. Al Franken announces resignation

Senator Al Franken announced his resignation Thursday amid allegations that he inappropriately touched several women — a shameful exit for a rising star of the Democratic party.

"I am announcing that in the coming weeks I will be resigning as a member of the United States Senate," Franken said. "Let me be clear, I may be resigning my seat but I am not giving up my voice."

The dramatic announcement from the Senate floor comes one day after more than a dozen Democratic Senators, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer of New York, called for Franken to step down following allegations made by eight women.

"Over the last few weeks, a number of women have come forward to talk about how they felt my actions had affected them. I was shocked. I was upset," Franken said. "But in responding to their claims, I also wanted to be respectful of that broader conversation because all women deserve to be heard and their experiences taken seriously."

RELATED: Democratic senators, officials call on Al Franken to resign

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Democratic senators call on Al Franken to resign
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Democratic senators call on Al Franken to resign
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was the first to publish a Wednesday post on social media calling for Al Franken's Senate resignation, and her colleagues were quick to follow ...
As elected officials, we should be held to the highest standards—not the lowest. The allegations against Sen. Frank… https://t.co/h2BHS6O5nd
Today, I am calling on my colleague Al Franken to step aside. I’ve struggled with this decision because he’s been a… https://t.co/6o1WP2RhFC
Sexual harassment and misconduct should not be allowed by anyone and should not occur anywhere. I believe the best… https://t.co/YrXRgyJpTn
Sen. Al Franken should step down. Everyone must share the responsibility of building a culture of trust and respect… https://t.co/u6cgoWHi42
Al Franken should resign.
It is clear that Al Franken has engaged in a pattern of egregious and unacceptable behavior toward women. He should resign.
I’m shocked and appalled by Senator Franken’s behavior. It’s clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persi… https://t.co/PPwAl5dAEY
I am deeply disappointed by Senator Franken’s behavior. He must step aside. My full statement here: https://t.co/Ad0L8WC0Fr
I believe it is best for Senator Franken to resign.
I agree with my colleagues who have stepped forward today and called on Senator Franken to resign. We can’t just be… https://t.co/Gt1Tnsvh1a
Sen. Franken has said that he will be making an announcement about his political future tomorrow. The right thing is for him to resign.
I have listened to them. I have listened to my female colleagues, to women I work with and women in my life. And I… https://t.co/Zh99IfLaUU
My statement on Sen. Franken: https://t.co/SuI2gmHHRk
Senator Franken’s behavior was wrong. He has admitted to what he did. He should resign from the Senate.
Sexual harassment is unacceptable. I believe Senator Franken should do the right thing and resign.
Al Franken has been a friend to many in the Senate – Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike – but these alle… https://t.co/kX1Wyrv2Y2
Joe is calling for Senator Franken to resign. https://t.co/ff5i1rnhJs
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Franken added that he believes some of the allegations against him "are simply not true."

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is likely to tap Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to replace the two-term lawmaker, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Though the writing appeared to be on the wall in the days leading up to his announcement, Franken's departure was not certain.

A tweet posted Wednesday evening on Franken's Twitter account said: "Senator Franken is talking with his family at this time and plans to make an announcement in D.C. tomorrow. Any reports of a final decision are inaccurate."

An unnamed woman came forward Wednesday to accuse the Minnesota lawmaker of forcing himself on her.

She claimed Franken insisted he had the right, as an entertainer, to kiss her, according to a Politico report.

Franken, elected to his seat in 2008, denied the allegation.

"This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous. I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation," he said in a statement.

Tina Dupuy later wrote in The Atlantic that Franken groped her in 2009, while they posed for a photo at a Media Matters party.

"We posted for the shot. He immediately put his hand on my waist, grabbing a handful of flesh. I froze. Then he squeezed. At least twice," she wrote.

Before entering politics, Franken was famous for his comedy chops.

The former funnyman was a writer and cast member for NBC's "Saturday Night Live" for two stretches over the course of two decades.

Sens. Claire McCaskill, Kamala Harris and Dick Durbin were among the lawmakers who urged Franken to step aside Wednesday - a move that political experts believe was motivated in part by the Senate campaign of Alabama Republican Roy Moore, who also faces sexual misconduct allegations dating back decades.

Multiple women have accused the 70-year-old of sexual misconduct with them when they were teens and he was a deputy district attorney in his 30s.

If Moore is elected, it could create a political nightmare for Republicans, who have promised an ethics probe.

By calling on Franken to step down, Democrats appear to be attempting to paint themselves as the party of moral high ground amid the growing wavesexual harassment and assault allegations against powerful men in politics, media and other industries.

RELATED: Al Franken through the years

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Al Franken through the years
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 1: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks during a meeting of the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote on the nomination of Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, on Capitol Hill, February 1, 2017 in Washington, DC. Sessions was approved by the committee in an 11 to 9 vote. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Bumble Bee Al Franken (Photo by Owen Franken/Corbis via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 3 -- Pictured: Al Franken during 'The Franken and Davis Show' skit on October 21, 1978 -- Photo by: Alan Singer/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank
NEW YORK CITY - JUNE 19: Al Franken attends City Fair Benefit for Cystic Fibrosis on June 19, 1983 at Bloomingdale's in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
Backstage with Al Franken at the Shadow Convention. (Photo by Rebecca D'Angelo/Sygma via Getty Images)
Actor Al Franken relaxing at Kaufman Astoria Studios. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 28: Al Franken attends the New York Friars Club Roast September 28, 2002 in New York City. The black-tie annual event was held in honor of Chevy Chase at the New York Hilton. (Photo by Graham Morrison/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 21: Al Franken's new book 'Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right' is seen August 21, 2003 in New York City. Fox News is suing the Franken and publisher Penguin arguing that the book's use of the phrase 'Fair and Balanced' is a trademark infringement. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
BOSTON - JULY 28: Political humorist Al Franken does a television interview on the floor of the FleetCenter on the third day of the Democratic National Convention July 28, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. Under heavy security, Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator John Kerry (D-MA) is expected to accept his party's nomination later in the week. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Al Franken of the Air America Network reporting on the floor of the Republican National Convention during the second night at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Ted Soqui/Corbis via Getty Images)
Al Franken at Earth to America! which airs on TBS Sunday, November 20 at 8 p.m. 10423MC_16017.JPG (Photo by M. Caulfield/WireImage for Temp Account)
LOS ANGELES - MARCH 25: Comedian and talk show host Al Franken was honored with the Humanitarian Award at the Human Rights Campaign's Gala Dinner at the Century Plaza Hotel on March 25, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Actor and comedian Al Franken waves flag May 9, 2006, prior to his lecture at the 92nd Street Y in New York, NY. (Photo by Tim Boxer/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN -OCTOBER 21: U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senate candidate Al Franken wave to the crowd at a rally October 21, 2008 at the McNamara Alumni Center at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Clinton told the crowd of more than 2,000 that Franken needs to win in order secure the 60 Senate seats needed to overcome a Republican filibuster. (Photo by Cory Ryan/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JANUARY 21: Minnesota Democratic senate hopeful Al Franken is shown at a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on January 21, 2009 in Washington, DC. Franken and his opponent, incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who held a slender lead following the election, are currently locked in a legal battle over a recount that put Franken ahead by 225 votes out of 2.9 million cast. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - JULY 07: US Senator Al Franken (D-MN) (R) hugs a friend during a swearing in reenactment ceremony on Capitol Hill July 6, 2009 in Washington, DC. Last month a Minnesota court ruled that Al Franken won the Minnesota senate seat beating out Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN). (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks during the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor before the Senate Judiciary Committee July 13, 2009 in Washington, DC. Sotomayor, now an appeals court judge and US President Barack Obama?s first Supreme Court nominee, will become the first Hispanic justice on the Supreme Court if confirmed. AFP PHOTO/Nicholas KAMM (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
US Senator Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, listens to testimony on medical debt and bankruptcy before the US Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, October 20, 2009. AFP PHOTO / Saul LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Minnesota Senator Al Franken works on his laptop in Washington DC. (Photo by Owen Franken/Corbis via Getty Images)
Democratic US Senator for Minnesota Al Franken in his Capitol Hill office in Washington. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 23: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., listens to testimony from Melodee Hanes, acting administrator of the Justice Department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, at a Senate Judiciary Administrative Oversight and the Courts Subcommittee hearing on Protecting Our Children: The Importance of Training Child Protection Professionals.' (Photo by Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 11: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks during a women's pro-choice rally on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2013 in Washington, DC. The rally was hosted by Planned Parenthood Federation of America to urge Congress against passing any legislation to limit access to safe and legal abortion. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 4: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks at a news conference to discuss the Affordable Care Act case being heard at the Supreme Court, on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 4, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Today the Supreme Court was scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of King v. Burwell that could determine the fate of health care subsidies for as many as eight million people. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - JULY 8: Senator Al Franken during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Going Dark and data encryption in Washington, USA on JULY 8, 2015. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 13: United States Senator Al Franken attends the 2016 Writers Guild Awards New York ceremony at The Edison Ballroom on February 13, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 07: Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., is interviewed by Roll Call in his Capitol hideaway about his upcoming Jeopardy appearance, April, 07, 2016. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 9: Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) speaks to reporters at a news conference dubbed #WeThePeople outside the Capitol on June 9, 2016 in Washington, D.C. Senate Democrats unveiled a new legislative proposal that will reform campaign finances and ensure fairer elections. (Photo by Gabriella Demczuk/Getty Images)
US Senator Al Franken gestures during Day 1 of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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"I, of all people, am aware there is some irony in the fact that I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the oval office and a man who has repeatedly preyed on young girls campaigns for the senate with the full support of his party," Franken said, taking a swipe at both Moore and President Trump.

Prior to the scandal, the 66-year-old Franken was seen as a potential presidential contender for 2020.

At least eight women have accused Franken of groping or trying to forcibly kiss them.

Radio and sports broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused Franken of sticking his tongue down her throat and later pretended to grope her in a picture while she was sleeping.

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