Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) said Friday that he hasn’t yet made a decision on whether he will run for Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenPolitical world mourns loss of comedian Jerry Stiller Maher to Tara Reade on timing of sexual assault allegation: ‘Why wait until Biden is our only hope?’ Democrats begin to confront Biden allegations MORE’s seat following the Minnesota Democrat’s resignation after sexual misconduct allegations.
“Like everyone else I’m reflecting on these events that have happened in Minnesota to our elected representatives, what’s happening across the country and trying to figure out what can we do to make it better,” said Pawlenty, a former presidential candidate, according to Minnesota Public Radio.
Pawlenty has been one of the potential candidates floated to replace Franken in the Senate.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) is reportedly planning on appointing Lt. Gov. Tina Smith (D) to fill the seat until the 2018 elections, when a successor would be chosen to serve out the remaining two years of Franken’s term.
Pawlenty said Friday that he remains retired from politics, but did not rule out a possible return to the campaign trail.
He could be a big get for Republicans looking to flip Franken’s seat to red. No GOP candidate has won statewide office in Minnesota since 2006.
“I want to be clear: I remain politically retired,” Pawlenty said. “But like everybody else I’m thinking about all the challenges and troubles our country is facing and asking what can I do to make it better. And I don’t know if that means returning to public service.”
Pawlenty left the Minnesota governor’s mansion in 2011 and mounted a short-lived presidential bid the next year. He currently serves as the president and CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, a lobbying organization representing banks, credit card companies and other financial services companies.
Franken announced in a speech on the Senate floor on Thursday that he would step down from his seat in the coming weeks amid allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior. Multiple women have accused him of touching them inappropriately during photo opportunities, and one woman alleged that he forcibly kissed and groped her during a 2006 USO tour.
Franken’s resignation came as he faced mounting pressure from Democratic colleagues to step down.
A number of prominent men in politics, entertainment and other industries have faced allegations of sexual misconduct in recent months, sparking calls to crack down on such misbehavior and harassment.
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