Al Franken put out a statement tonight that celebrated his Minnesota U. S. Senate victory, and declared that he is ready to go to Washington and help Barack Obama get the country going.
“This victory is incredibly humbling – not just because it was so narrow, but because of the tremendous responsibility it gives me on behalf of the people of Minnesota. While the recount process played out, the challenges facing our state and our nation have only grown. With tensions in the Middle East reaching the boiling point, our economy facing its worst crisis since the 1930s, and Minnesota’s middle class families being squeezed harder than ever, it’s clear that we have a lot of important work to do.”
The newest senator continued, “I want you all to know that I’m ready to go to Washington and get to work just as soon as possible. And I look forward to joining President-Elect Obama and Senator Klobuchar in getting our country moving in the right direction again.”
Franken also understands that he has to earn the confidence of those who didn’t support him, “I also know that this was a hard-fought victory, and that I didn’t win the support of every Minnesotan. I’m going to have to earn it by being a Senator who fights for every Minnesotan, whether you voted for me or not. And I want every Minnesotan to hear me say: I work for you now. And I will work hard to earn your confidence.”
He also didn’t seem worried about Coleman’s lawsuit, “There may still be additional legal proceedings related to our recount. But I’m now in the business of serving the people of Minnesota. And the best way I can serve the people of Minnesota right now is to focus all my attention and all my energies on getting to work for them on the issues we’ll be facing together.”
The Franken/Coleman race will be remembered as possibly the ugliest race of 2008. This was a contest that got personal quickly, and stayed that way throughout the entire campaign. The downside of the nastiness was that the issues largely went ignored as both candidates set out to destroy their opponent.
I don’t know how Al Franken will fare in the Senate, but he is going to have a bull’s-eye on his back for the next six years. His seat will almost certainly be one of the top GOP targets when he is up for reelection. One never knows for sure, but a rematch with Norm Coleman would not be a surprise.