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Franken to leave Senate Jan. 2; Smith to be sworn in Jan. 3, plans to retain some of senator’s top staff

ST. PAUL — Sen. Al Franken plans to officially leave the U.S. Senate on Jan. 2.

The announcement Wednesday from a Franken spokesman should put to rest questions surrounding the timing of the Minnesota Democrat’s departure and concern that he might reverse his planned resignation.

Franken announced earlier this month that he would leave “in the coming weeks” amid several sexual misconduct allegations. His office later indicated it would come sometime in early January.

Gov. Mark Dayton’s choice to replace Franken, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, is set to be sworn in Jan. 3.

Smith will keep some of Franken’s top staff when she takes office. She plans to run for the seat in 2018.

One Republican, state Sen. Karin Housley, of Stillwater, announced Tuesday that she will also run for the remainder of Franken’s term.