WASHINGTON — Sen. Al Franken’s support among his fellow Democrats appeared to collapse Wednesday as a group of female Democratic senators called upon him to resign amid sexual misconduct allegations. His office said he would make an announcement Thursday, but did not specify the subject.

A top Democrat, however, expects Franken to resign. In a tweet on Wednesday, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon said: “I expect that Senator Franken will announce his resignation tomorrow.” Wyden tweeted that “It is the right thing to do given this series of serious allegations.”

The floodgates opened in the morning, as Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Patty Murray, D-Wash., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., called on Franken to step down. Some Democratic men joined them.

By early afternoon, Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., had joined in, issuing a statement saying she was “deeply disappointed” in Franken and that he must step aside.

“To all those across America who have come forward to share their stories over the past few months: thank you. Your courage and strength in driving this long-overdue national conversation is awe-inspiring. As national leaders, we must hold ourselves to a higher standard — and we must lead by example to ensure every person is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Franken has helped Duckworth raise money in the past.

Her fellow Illinois Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, already had tweeted that “Franken’s behavior was wrong. He has admitted to what he did. He should resign from the Senate.”

“I’m shocked and appalled by Sen. Franken’s behavior,” Murray said. “It’s clear to me that this has been a deeply harmful, persistent problem and a clear pattern over a long period of time. It’s time for him to step aside.”

Gillibrand, who was the first to tweet, said “it would be better for our country if he sent a clear message that any kind of mistreatment of women in our society isn’t acceptable by stepping aside to let someone else serve.”

The calls came as another woman accused Franken of sexual misconduct in an account provided to Politico.

The demands came in rapid succession after Franken on Wednesday vehemently denied a new sexual misconduct accusation that came from a former Democratic congressional aide, who said he tried to forcibly kiss her after a taping of his radio show in 2006.

The Minnesota Democrat said in a statement that the allegation, reported by Politico, was “categorically not true.”

The woman, who was not identified, said Franken pursued her after her boss had left and she was collecting her belongings. She said she ducked to avoid his lips, and that Franken told her: “It’s my right as an entertainer.”

Franken, in his statement, said the idea he would claim such conduct as a right as an entertainer was “preposterous.”

But the tide quickly turned against Franken Wednesday morning. Fellow Democrats had previously been cautious and respected Franken’s right to cooperate with an ethics probe. But the steady stream of allegations has female Democrats fed up.

The pressure built on Franken a day after former Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., resigned after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct.

And in Alabama, women have accused Roy Moore, the GOP nominee in a special election for the Senate, of sexual misconduct with them when they were teens, including one who said she molested him when she was 14. Nonetheless, President Donald Trump — who survived explosive allegations himself of sexual assault during last year’s campaign — has endorsed Moore.

There are a total of 16 Democratic women in the Senate. Among the others that have not yet commented are Franken’s fellow Minnesotan, Amy Klobuchar. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., is unlikely to call for Franken to resign at this time because she is on the ethics committee, which is investigating him.

A spokesman for Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had no immediate comment.
Joining the female Democratic senators were Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, joined them as well.

“I have listened to them. I have listened to my female colleagues, to women I work with and women in my life,” said Brown. “And I agree the time has come for Senator Franken to step aside.”

Franken already faced a Senate Ethics Committee investigation into previous claims by several other women that he groped them or sought to forcibly kiss them.

“This allegation is categorically not true and the idea that I would claim this as my right as an entertainer is preposterous,” Franken said. “I look forward to fully cooperating with the ongoing ethics committee investigation.”

The allegations against Franken began in mid-November when Los Angeles radio anchor Leeann Tweeden accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour.

Several other allegations have followed, including a woman who says that Franken put his hand on her buttocks during a picture pose at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010.

Two women, who asked to remain anonymous, have told the Huffington Post that Franken squeezed their buttocks at political events during his first campaign for the Senate in 2008. A fourth woman, an Army veteran, alleged Franken cupped her breast during a photo op on a USO tour in 2003.

Franken has apologized for his behavior but he has disputed some of the allegations.