At a press conference just now, outside his home in Minneapolis, Al Franken again declared victory in his campaign for the U.S. Senate, after the election contest court ruled that he was the winner of this race. (Special thanks to our good friends at The Uptake
for carrying the live stream.)
"I am, of course, incredibly gratified by today's ruling and grateful to the judges," said the apparent Senator-elect, "to our legal team and most of all to Minnesota's civil servants, elected officials and citizen volunteers who have taken so much time, and taken so much effort over the last several weeks and months to make sure that the votes were accurately counted."
And one point he stressed repeatedly, was that he should finally be allowed to get to work in Washington. "It has been more than five months since Election Day, and more than three months since the winner of this election was supposed to be sworn in to go to work for the people of Minnesota. This long delay in the seating of Minnesota's second U.S. Senator has come at a time when our state badly needs help from Washington."
Franken also quoted his old friend Paul Wellstone -- the man whose death in a 2002 plane crash so clearly affected Al and inspired him to become truly serious about politics, to the point of spending years of his life running for his late friend's political office. After discussing all the problems the country faces, and the reasons he got into the race and why his supporters fought so hard, Franken said: "It's like what Paul Wellstone always said: Politics isn't about winning, it's about improving people's lives."
Franken then took questions from reporters, and the first one was what he thought about the likely scenario of Norm Coleman appealing this ruling and preventing Franken from being seated for still longer. "Well I have no control over what he does," said Franken. "And he says he's gonna appeal, so he is, to the Minnesota Supreme Court. But as these three judges said, this was a very fair election, totally scrutinized, they agreed unanimously on everything, and I'm very confident that we won."
"I don't think that by attacking the courts of this state, by attacking the election processes of this state, I don't think that's a winning argument in any court in this state -- especially the Supreme Court of this state. And after that I believe I will be certified and go to work in the u.s. Senate."
He did say he would likely travel to Washington between now and when he's officially certified as the winner, though not apparently in order to be seated: "But I've been going back and forth, in part of the process of just getting ready to hit the ground running."
Again, Franken was asked about what he would say to Norm Coleman about appealing. "Yes, I would probably urge him not to appeal," said Franken. "Although, you know I'm sure that he's made his mind up, and I don't - I'm a pretty persuasive guy, but I don't think I could win that one with him."