Senator Al Franken (D-Minnesota) says some of the accusations of sexual misconduct made by eight women are untrue, but regardless, the former Saturday Night Live star is resigning from Congress in the coming weeks.
Franken’s fall began with former Poker After Dark and National Heads-Up Poker Championship host Leann Tweeden, who revealed last month that the senator had sexually harassed her during an overseas 2006 USO trip. Tweeden claimed Franken, who was still a comedian at the time, forced his tongue done her throat during a sketch. She also produced a photograph of him appearing to grab her breasts through a flak jacket while she was asleep.
Tweeden said she accepted Franken’s apology and did not call for his resignation, but soon other women came forward with similar charges, including a former congressional staffer who said Franken forcibly tried to kiss her. Today, Franken took to the Senate floor to announce his pending resignation.
Bettors on the political prediction site PredictIt.org, which offers shares of outcomes of political events, correctly saw this coming.
The line, “Will Al Franken be a US senator on March 31?” was trading at nearly 90 cents for “Yes” in mid-November. But it’s been falling ever since, and hit just five cents yesterday. When Franken officially leaves Washington, bettors who took “No” will receive $1 per share owned.
Without giving a specific timeframe for leaving the Senate, PredictIt launched a new line just minutes after revealing his intentions. Bettors strongly believe Franken will still have his seat this Saturday, as the trading price of “Yes, Al Franken will be a US senator on December 9” is currently at 97 cents. Over 56,000 shares had been traded in the first hour after Franken’s announcement.
Al Franken didn’t exit the Senate without taking one final shot at President Donald Trump.
During his lengthy resignation speech in which he never apologized to the women who claimed they were subjects of his inappropriate advances, Franken said, “I am leaving while a man who has bragged on tape about his history of sexual assault sits in the Oval Office. But this decision is not about me. It’s about the people of Minnesota.”
The Minnesotan was once viewed as a potential 2020 presidential candidate. Many Democrats believed the quick-witted Franken would be the perfect candidate to go up against Trump.
Bookmaker Paddy Power still has Franken at 33-1 to win the 2020 presidential election. The line didn’t change in the hours after the senator’s resignation, which might hint that oddsmakers and bettors do not feel his political career is entirely over.
In addition to Trump, Franken also pointed to Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R), whose campaign remains engulfed in sexual misconduct allegations that includes girls as young as 14-years-old. “A man who repeatedly preyed on young girls” is how Franken referred to Moore.
PredictIt bettors aren’t buying it. Instead, they’re snagging up shares that Moore will win the special election on December 12 at a going rate of 76 cents.
As for Franken, he says the claims against him are largely untrue. “I know that the work I’ve been able to do has improved people’s lives. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.”