As DHD readers know, I’ve been closely following the Al Franken vs Norm Coleman hotly contested U.S. Senate race in Minnesota because, while showbiz talents who are also Democrats routinely raise money and campaign for political candidates, they rarely run for public office themselves. For a long while, Franken, the Saturday Night Live alum and ex-Air America radio broadcaster, trailed Coleman, the Republican incumbent U.S. senator. Then the challenger led by a slim margin. But tonight, the recount is finally complete with Franken ahead by a relatively comfortable 225 votes over Coleman. According to the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, all that’s left is for the Coleman camp’s various legal challenges to be considered by the state Supreme Court. The Republican’s term as a U.S. senator ended at noon ET today, and tonight state officials counted previously rejected absentee ballots in St. Paul. A newspaper tally of the officials’ count of the absentee ballots showed that Franken, who had led unofficially by a mere 49 votes going into the day, gained a net 176 votes by day’s end. “The state Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet Monday — and possibly again Tuesday — to review the tally of the previously rejected ballots. It may announce the race’s final result by Tuesday, the day a new Congress convenes in Washington,” the Star-Tribune reported. “With the recount complete, focus immediately shifted to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which continued to consider a request from the Coleman campaign to alter the process and add more absentee ballots to be reconsidered. But by early evening there was no word from the state’s highest court as to when it would rule or hear arguments.” So this is still not yet over. “A court challenge to the recount is almost certain to follow a certification from the Canvassing Board, as Coleman lawyers acknowledged last week,” the Star-Tribune wrote. “Under state law, an election certificate formally naming a winner cannot be issued until all legal disputes are resolved.”

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