Franken wins, Coleman concedes

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced late Tuesday afternoon that he will certify the election of Democrat Al Franken to the U.S. Senate.

The announcement was made 30 minutes after former Sen. Norm Coleman conceded.
His concession followed a ruling by the Minnesota Supreme Court, after eight months of vote counting and appeals, that Al Franken won the election to become Minnesota’s next U.S. senator.

Franken’s election gives the Democrats the 60 vote super majority they need in the Senate to prevent Republican filibusters — provided they remain united themselves.

Franken had the strong backing of the nation’s labor movement — both the AFL-CIO and the Change to Win federations.

The unanimous court ruling read, in part: “We affirm the decision of the trial court that Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled under Minnesota law to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the state of Minnesota.”

“America’s workers congratulate Al Franken,” declared John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, in a statement. “Workers are facing many challenges, including a tough economy, lack of health care coverage and an out of balance economic system where workers do not have a voice on their job. With these colossal issues at stake it is essential that Minnesotans have both their Senators to represent them and we urge Gov. Pawlenty to immediately sign the election certificate so Franken can get to work.”

The seating of Franken is viewed as important for passage of both health care reform and the Employee Free Choice Act which will make it possible for workers to form unions without the intimidation, harassment and even firings they now face.

Sweeney, in his statement, called upon the Senate to “move swiftly on employee free choice as well as health care reform, financial re-regulation and all the critical issues facing working families.”