Franken nears 2nd term

Published 11:30 am Friday, February 15, 2013

Sen. Al Franken listens during a mental health forum at Irondale High School in New Brighton on Monday. --Jeffrey Thompson/MPR

By Mark Zdechlik
Minnesota Public Radio News

As he prepares to seek a second term next year, Democratic U.S. Sen. Al Franken appears to be on relatively firm ground as a candidate for re-election, a far cry from his status when first seeking the job.

Six years ago this month, Franken launched his U.S Senate campaign against then-U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican who in 2002 denied former Vice President Walter Mondale a chance to fill the late Paul Wellstone’s seat.

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Franken, who rose to national fame as a “Saturday Night Live” cast member, immediately faced questions about whether he was serious. Republicans thought he would be a dream opponent, given the there was no shortage of material to use against the comedian and sharply partisan political commentator.

“I think it’s a fair question,” he said then, “and I think it’s one I’m going to get asked a lot.”

After a closely fought election that ended in a virtual draw, a recount declared Franken the winner by just 312 votes.

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