The number of Al Franken accusers has grown to 4.
Franken has stated he refuses to resign despite increasing pressure from both the left and right,
As reported in the WashingtonTimes.
Democratic Sen. Al Franken’s sexual misconduct woes became a campaign issue in the Minnesota governor’s race this week as new allegations of groping two more women surfaced.
The Minnesota Republican Party moved to link Mr. Franken to Rep. Tim Walz, a leading candidate for the gubernatorial nod of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party next year, faulting him for refusing to return $54,000 in Franken campaign donations made over the last decade.
“Tim Walz is standing by Al Franken, keeping his campaign cash and refusing to call on him to resign,” said the Minnesota GOP in a statement. “This comes as other high-profile Democrats have already promised to return the Franken campaign cash.”
The two leading female candidates for the DFL nomination for governor — state Rep. Erin Murphy and state auditor Rebecca Otto — last week called for Mr. Franken to step down after a photo showing him apparently groping a sleeping Leeann Tweeden in 2006 went public.
Adding to the pressure on Mr. Franken was the announcement Tuesday that two Minnesota state legislators, DFL state Sen. Dan Schoen and GOP state Rep. Tony Cornish, plan to resign in the aftermath of sexual harassment allegations.
“This is a step in the right direction. Sexual harassment has no place in our society,” said Minnesota Republican Party Chairwoman Jennifer Carnahan in a statement. “I renew my call for Sen. Al Franken to also do the right thing for the people of Minnesota and resign as a United States Senator.”
A Franken staffer told WCCO-TV in Minneapolis on Tuesday that the senator would not resign, but that was before two more women came forward, telling the Huffington Post in a Wednesday report that he groped their backsides in separate incidents and bringing the number of accusers to four.
The two latest women asked to remain anonymous.
One said that he grabbed her buttocks during a photo op at a June 2007 event hosted by the Minnesota Women’s Political Caucus, while the other said that he “cupped her butt” at a 2008 fundraiser in Minneapolis, then suggested they visit the restroom.
“My immediate reaction was disgust,” the second woman said. “But my secondary reaction was disappointment. I was excited to be there and to meet him. And so to have that happen really deflated me. It felt like: ‘Is this really the person who is going to be in a position of power to represent our community?’”
The allegations are reminiscent of those made by Lindsay Menz, who told CNN that Mr. Franken grabbed her bottom as they posed for a photo together at the Minnesota State Fair in August 2010, after he had been elected to the Senate.
In a statement to the Huffington Post, Mr. Franken said, “It’s difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events,” and denied “categorically” that he propositioned a woman to join him in a bathroom.
Both women said they told several people about the incidents afterward.
Mr. Walz said in a Tuesday statement that he was “shocked” by the initial allegation against Mr. Franken by Ms. Tweeden, now a Los Angeles news anchor, who said that in addition to the photo, he had kissed her aggressively and groped her during a 2006 USO tour.
“We have seen statements from his office, but a lot of us would like to hear from him directly,” Mr. Walz said, adding that resignation should be “on the table.”