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Nolan: Woman should be in Franken's Senate seat

U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn.

CROSBY, Minn.—U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., said Friday he's not thinking of running for the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated when Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., resigns.

Following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against him, Franken announced Thursday he would resign.

"Senator Franken has determined that he can no longer effectively represent the people of Minnesota," Nolan said in a statement Thursday. "He has done the right thing for Minnesota and our nation by stepping down."

Nolan, a Democrat, said he called Gov. Mark Dayton, who will appoint a replacement to fill the seat until a special election can take place in 2018. Nolan suggested to Dayton a woman be selected to take the seat, he said. Furthermore, he said the woman should be appointed in the "Mondale tradition"—that is, one likely to run for the seat after she is appointed, a la Walter Mondale.

"I didn't want just a placeholder," Nolan said. "That's been done in the past, and it didn't really work well."

Nolan said he recommended several women from his 8th Congressional District to Dayton, including Duluth Mayor Emily Larson and former legislator Carly Melin.

"I just think in the current climate where women, rightfully so, have been deeply concerned about all the revelations of abuse and sexual harassment by men, I think a woman could be a powerfully strong advocate for women's rights and women's issues," Nolan said. "It's just something that we have been striving for for a long time, and this is a great opportunity for (Dayton) to help one more woman to get elected to high public office, and demonstrate their ability to serve, and serve well."

Stewart Mills III, Nolan's Republican opponent who lost to him in the 2016 and 2014 elections for the 8th District, appeared more willing than Nolan to explore a run for the seat. Ben Kamisar, a reporter for Roll Call, tweeted Wednesday Mills told him he would "more than kick the tires" on a possible run should Franken resign.

Mills did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

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