With the exit of trial lawyer Mike Ciresi from the Democratic Senate primary in Minnesota on Monday, Al Franken stands alone as the challenger to incumbent Republican Norm Coleman. Franken has run an exceptionally solid campaign that started early, raised money well, and avoided mistakes — he essentially left no opening for someone like Ciresi, a solid candidate who, under different circumstances, would have gotten a long look from the DSCC and probably could have given Coleman a serious run. It helped that Minnesota Democrats that I spoke to when I visited Minnesota were genuinely carefree about Franken's unconventional past. "Humor is form of common sense," said one man, when I asked him about Franken's history of ribald jokes.
Coleman is one of the most vulnerable incumbents in the Senate, and Minnesota should be a delightful state to watch as we near November 2008. After all, if Obama wins the presidency, we're going to need a new Emmy winner in the Senate. And besides, it would be great to say that a sitting Senator has been in two of the worst movies of all time, Harvard Man and Stuart Saves His Family.