Saturday Night Live veteran Al Franken has had a major hurdle cleared en route to his attempt to challenge Norm Coleman (R-MN) for the Minnesota Senate seat opposite that of Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who was able to hold the seat of retiring Mark Dayton (D-MN) for her party over Mark Kennedy. Franken was facing a stiff challenge for the 2008 Democratic nomination from Mike Ciresi, but that is now a thing of the past due to Ciresi’s just-announced withdrawal. It had been a battle between Franken’s celebrity-fueled fundraising ability v. Ciresi’s own personal fortune, which Franken appeared to be winning. Franken was able to win the battle of union endorsements. He still has to contend with a college professor, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, before earning the right to take on Coleman.
RBR/TVBR observation: Democrats are starting to think they have a chance at getting a filibuster-proof 60-40 edge this year, and this will be a key race if they’re going to pull it off. At the moment, CQ Politics rates it "No Clear Favorite," another way of saying toss-up. Some Democrats in Minnesota fear that Franken’s long career as a television comedian will be a wellspring of quotes for Coleman to use; this is even more true of material which can be gleaned from his books, going back to "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot." Those looking for this contest to turn into an electoral version of late night topical comedy television have been disappointed, as Franken has been on his best behavior thus far.