It's been a long time coming but it is looking like any day now we might start the Al Franken Decade (well, Senate terms are actually only six years). Franken is the Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labour Party Candidate (there is no simply "Democratic Party" in Minnesota) and he took on former Democrat, now Republican, Norm Coleman in what is now Minnesota's longest ever election.
The vote was close between a former comedian and a former Democrat who has had his fair share of scandal problems, including one right now. But hey, this is Minnesota, they elected a wrestler to be Governor.
After the votes were counted in November Franken trailed Coleman by only 215 votes. Coleman said that Franken should save the taxpayers money and concede, but Franken went forward with a re-count and came on top. Who could have predicted that Coleman would then challenge this re-count? Now this protracted struggle might almost be over with the Minnesota Supreme Court ruling expected any day.
Or not. Coleman may have the legal right to appeal federally or the Governor could not sign off on the election. It depends how much the Republicans want to drag this out, and dragging it out has been a key issue for them for months.
Why? Two main reasons. The first is if Franken wins he becomes the 58th Democrat (there are two independents that tend to vote Democratic) which in theory means that the Democrats can stop a Republican fillibuster. The Republicans have been able to stall appointments and cause other headaches for the Democrats because of the fillibuster threat. However, you get many votes that don't go on party lines and getting 6o votes can be tough. But without Franken it is extremely difficult.
The second reason is that Franken would represent, relatively speaking for the U.S. Senate, a pretty progressive vote. He was endorsed by ACORN, and NARAL, and the DFL Feminist Caucus and supports unions and specifically the Employee Free Choice Act which helps workers form unions; he wants the troops home, and he supports single payer which implies he supports the public option for health care on the table right now. To bad he isn't around to vote. And you can thank not just Norm Coleman for that but really the Republican machine that pumps money into Coleman's coffers.
They really don't want this guy to be in the Senate. In fact, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee said it could take "years" for the appeals to be finished. But the court may say otherwise and Coleman just got dinged to pay some of Franken's bills, though if they can get a rare recount you can be their bottom dollar big bucks will flow on both sides.
We will know soon enough. The state canvassing board certfied Franken as the winner and now the court will let us know soon, but it is not looking great for Coleman.
Al Franken for Senate? Let the Decade begin.
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