Saturday, December 20, 2008

Flip a coin

Looks like Al Franken might win his effort to oust incumbent Senator Norm Coleman. It's a squeaker, and Norm isn't going down without a fight. Norm's victory in 2002 was a bit of a fluke to begin with: his opponent, Paul Wellstone, died in an airplane crash shortly before election day, and Wellstone's replacement was Walter Mondale (someone about as inspiring as a Kenny G solo). Add to that the post-9/11 environment, and one had a recipe for a Coleman victory. As victories went, it was hardly convincing, and I would have been surprised if Norm had amounted to anything more than a one-term Senator. Although the idea of comedian Al Franken posing a threat to Norm's re-election seemed far-fetched as recently as the summer, by the time November rolled around, Franken's momentum was no joke - in fact, Franken had turned into a very slight favorite (see the projections Five Thirty Eight had made right on the eve of the election - just scroll down and look at the right-hand sidebar). Whether Al Franken can fill Paul Wellstone's shoes remains to be seen.

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