Sen. Al Franken will not run for president in 2020, his office exclusively told TheWrap.
The office of the “Saturday Night Live” veteran-turned-Minnesota senator ruled out a presidential run in response to the creation of a Super PAC, Draft Al Franken 2020. It drew attention from the congressional newspaper The Hill, among other outlets.
“Sen. Franken is not going to run for President in 2020,” Franken’s office said in a statement. “He will, however, spend the next several years fighting on behalf of Minnesota families — working on issues like income inequality, education, college affordability, health care, equal rights, and on behalf of consumers and small businesses.”
A 23-year-old graduate student named Nick Butler created the Super PAC hours after Hillary Clinton conceded the election. If the idea of a former “SNL” head writer to run our country sounds crazy, consider that the guy from “Celebrity Apprentice” is about to take the job.
Butler said that as a Democratic senator from a Great Lakes state who is focused on working-class values, Franken could also appeal to the kinds of white, blue-collar voters who broke for Trump this year. He could be a kind of younger, cooler Bernie Sanders — with plenty of friends in the deep-pocketed entertainment industry.
Franken also has more political experience than Trump — and many Democrats already being bandied about as possible 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. By 2020, he will have served two terms in the Senate. He has spent the last eight years establishing himself as a public servant, not an entertainer.
“For the first few years in the Senate, he would refuse to make a joke,” Butler told TheWrap. “He showed that he wasn’t a joke.”
Butler, who is studying education policy and leadership at the University of Albany, has never worked with Franken and said he isn’t even accepting money for his Super PAC until it can ramp up efforts to draft Franken.
The campaign to draft Franken will go on, Butler told TheWrap.
“No tactful politician is going to say four years out that they’re running, and the purpose of our movement is to encourage him to run,” Butler said. “Now we’ll just have to try that much harder.”
Franken was best known on “SNL” for his beloved Stuart Smalley character, a soft-sweatered, soft-spoken self-helper who looked in his mirror and recited the affirmation, “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”
Besides his experience as a writer and performer on “SNL,” Franken has authored several books of political commentary and satire, including 1999’s “Why Not Me?” in which he imagined a successful — and disastrous — run for president.