Yesterday, 161 days after the 2008 elections, Al Franken was declared the winner of the Minnesota Senate race. Former senator Norm Coleman pressed every angle he could in front of a bipartisan three-member election court, and the end result was that Franken's lead grew about 100 votes, leading the court to rule that Franken is indeed the winner and ought to be seated. "Enough is enough," said DNC chair Tim Kaine, who urged Coleman to concede so that Minnesota could have two votes in the Senate. (The GOP has been silent on the ruling.)
Coleman, of course, has no intention of heeding Kaine's advice. He plans on appealing to the Minnesota state supreme court, and to SCOTUS if necessary. As many have pointed out, the longer Coleman ties Franken up in legal challenges, the longer the Senate Democrats have to scrap and hustle to find an extra vote on all of their major priorities.
It's kind of astounding how long Franken has been at this. I sat down with him in spring 2007 in order to write a magazine profile of him and his Senate chances, and at that time he had already spent 18 months attending every political event he could find in small- and medium-sized Minnesota towns (wellll out of the spotlight) in order to slowly built support for his run. No one can accuse him of not doing the legwork on this one. Now he's closer than ever to realizing his dream; while he waits for the final word, maybe he can work on his vocals.
Photo courtesy of flickr user ohad*.