Some top Democrats in North Carolina politics say Al Franken, who faces several allegations of sexual harassment, should resign from the U.S. Senate.
Franken, a Minnesota Democrat and comedian, is among the congressmen and candidates accused of touching women inappropriately or harassing women. U.S. Rep. John Conyers, a Michigan Democrat, resigned on Tuesday after seven women claimed they experienced or witnessed Conyers making inappropriate advances. Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, a Republican, has been accused of pursuing teenagers when he was in his 30s and having sexual interactions with at least one of them. Several women have also accused President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct.
Now, some elected officials are being asked to take a position on misconduct allegations against members of their political party.
Asked about Franken, Conyers and others on Tuesday, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper condemned harassment but didn’t weigh in on what he thinks should happen.
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“Harassment like this cannot be tolerated,” Cooper said in a statement. “The recent flood of stories on this has been eye opening for many people and I hope it will result in safer communities and workplaces. We are all responsible for stopping this type of behavior.”
On Wednesday, Democratic leaders in North Carolina’s state House and state Senate agreed that Franken should follow Conyers out the door.
“I’ve read the accounts and there is no place for that type of conduct. We should not only #believethewomen but take action. That begins by removing the perpetrators and encouraging women to speak out when lines are crossed,” state Rep. Darren Jackson, the House minority leader, tweeted.
State Sen. Dan Blue, the Senate minority leader, said he agrees with Jackson.
“Both should resign so that we can definitively take steps to move forward, do better and create a culture where this is no longer acceptable or swept under the rug,” Blue tweeted.
Robert Howard, spokesman for the North Carolina Democratic Party, said Tuesday the party needs to investigate and reject politicians who harass people “no matter the party or politics.
“Rep. Conyers was right to resign, and the Senate should immediately begin an ethics investigation into Senator Franken’s conduct,” Howard said.
As for Republicans and Moore, both of North Carolina’s U.S. senators – Richard Burr and Thom Tillis – have said Moore should immediately withdraw from the race.
Dallas Woodhouse, executive director of the N.C. GOP, said of his group: “We do not have a position on how the people of Alabama should select their U.S. Senator.”
Meanwhile, state Sen. Phil Berger, the Senate leader, state Rep. Tim Moore, the House speaker, and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest have declined to comment on the Alabama candidate.
State Rep. Michael Speciale of New Bern has been among the state’s most vocal supporters of Moore since the allegations, posting on his Facebook page last week that he “wholeheartedly” supports a group’s resolution backing Moore.