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Minnesota: Jarred by Criticism, Franken Gets DFL Nod

Even after a few tense weeks on the campaign trail, comedian Al Franken (D) easily clinched his party’s endorsement at the Democrat-Farmer-Labor Party’s annual convention this weekend.

According to news reports, Franken got enough support on the first round of balloting that anti-war activist Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer dropped out and threw his support to the party favorite.

Franken endured more than a week of bad press after some of his writings and comments, including a racy satirical column from a 2000 Playboy magazine, came to light. Franken addressed the matter in his convention speech.

“It kills me that things I said and wrote sent a message to some of my friends in this room and people in this state that they can’t count on me to be a champion for women, a champion for all Minnesotans, in this campaign and in the Senate,” Franken said.

Republicans pounced on his published comments, while Rep. Betty McCollum (D) said that she will not endorse Franken’s candidacy because of them. McCollum endorsed attorney Mike Ciresi (D) in the primary until he dropped out of the race earlier this year.

But primary trouble might not be over yet for Franken. Though he has his party’s backing, Franken can still get a primary challenge. Local news reports have Ciresi as keeping his options open in the race.

The filing deadline for the race is July 15 and the primary is Sept. 9. The Democratic victor will face Sen. Norm Coleman (R) this November.

— Shira Toeplitz

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