MOORHEAD, Minn. — U.S. Sen. Al Franken, redux. How do you like the sound of that, Minnesota?
It could happen, you know. At least in the deepest recesses of this active mind.
Stick with me here.
Franken, the twice-elected former Democratic U.S. senator from Minnesota who resigned in 2018 after allegations of sexual misconduct, has never really gone away after his alleged behavior, nor seemed fully contrite about it. Franken hasn't admitted wrongdoing and has said he remembers the incident leading to the allegations differently than his accuser.
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Sen. Tina Smith, who was selected to fill Franken's seat by DFL Gov. Mark Dayton after Franken's resignation, has now won two elections on her own, including Nov. 3. So she's not going anywhere.
Yet a part of Franken must feel he was railroaded into resigning, if he believes he did nothing wrong.
So if he wants back into the Senate, Joe Biden's election as president cracked open the door for Franken's return. Even if the crack is only an inch.
Again, stick with me here.
Minnesota's other U.S. senator, Amy Klobuchar, ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. She wasn't going to get it and instead stepped aside and threw her support behind Biden, which helped him win Minnesota's primary and other key Super Tuesday states.
If Klobuchar's window to be president has passed, and it likely has now that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris is the obvious front-runner for the Democratic nomination in either 2024 or 2028, what could serve as the cap to the 60-year-old Klobuchar's political career?
Maybe being Biden's attorney general, for which Klobuchar is eminently qualified. Biden owes her and Klobuchar's moderate credentials would make her confirmation a near-certainty if Republicans maintain control of the Senate after the two Georgia special elections in January.
Reports last week had Klobuchar being considered for attorney general by Biden's team.
Klobuchar becoming attorney general would open her Senate seat, which would then be filled by an appointment by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, a DFLer and close ally of Franken.
Boom. U.S. Sen. Al Franken, redux.
This is, perhaps, the longest of long shots. Walz up for re-election in 2022, would be excoriated, as would Democrats generally. Klobuchar's current term lasts until 2024, meaning Franken would have to face a special election in 2022 if he was appointed in 2021. He'd then have to run again in 2024.
It would be a move filled with political danger for Minnesota Democrats, at a time when there's no reason to risk their run of statewide success.
Republicans would pillory Democrats over Franken's rehabilitation for a dozen reasons, not the least of which would be: "We thought you believed women when they said they'd been assaulted or harassed?"
But, in the deepest recesses of this active mind, there exists a belief Franken wants back in the game because he believes he should have never been kicked out of the game in the first place.
The question is whether other Democrats are willing to take this treacherous leap.
Readers can reach Forum News Service columnist Mike McFeely at email@example.com or (701) 451-5655