Senator Franken’s Last Day, Former Minnesota Representative “Praying” Over Potential Bid, Longest Serving Republican Senator Retires

Another former Republican presidential contender is thinking about running for Franken's seat

NATIONAL — Sen. Al Franken has officially resigned from the Senate.

The Minnesota Democrat formally resigned this afternoon.

It comes nearly a month after he announced his plans to leave Congress after numerous sexual misconduct allegations in November.

Franken joined the Senate in 2009 after winning a months-long recount.

His departure sets the stage for Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to take over his seat.

Smith has submitted her letter of resignation to Governor Dayton and she will be sworn in at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Smith is also a Democrat and plans to run for the seat in a special election in November.

FORMER MINNESOTA REPRESENTATIVE CONSIDERS SENATE RUN

Another former Republican presidential contender is thinking about running for Franken’s seat.

Former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann told televangelist Jim Bakker that she is praying about it after being asked to consider a bid.

Bachmann ran for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. A deeply conservative Republican with a history of making controversial statements, she served four terms in Congress.

Republican state Sen. Karin Housley has already launched a campaign for Franken’s seat.

Former Republican Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is also considering a run.

LONGEST SERVING REPUBLICAN SENATOR ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

The Senate’s longest serving Republican has decided that it’s time to retire.

“But every good fighter knows when to hang up the gloves,” Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah said in a recorded message. “For me, that time is soon approaching. That’s why after much prayer and discussion with family and friends I’ve decided to retire at the end of this term.”

The 83-year-old senator set off retirement rumors early last year when he said in an interview that he hoped to see Mitt Romney one day take his place, but he reversed course and repeatedly insisted to reporters that he “intended” to seek re-election for an eighth term.

If Hatch had opted to stay in the Senate, he could have faced a formidable challenge from a crop of ambitious Utah Republicans.

Romney did not have an immediate public reaction to Hatch’s announcement.

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