Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN), who very narrowly lost the hotly-disputed 2008 Minnesota Senate race, has announced that he will not challenge the state’s other senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, in 2012.
“I’m not going to run against Amy Klobuchar,” said on ABC’s Top Line Web show. “I’ve said in other forums that I haven’t ruled out public service — my heart’s in public service. At some point, but not in 2012. I love what I do now, and that is developing center-right policy.”
Coleman currently heads up his own conservative group, the American Action Network, which according its website “is a 501(c)(4) ‘action tank’ that will create, encourage and promote center-right policies based on the principles of freedom, limited government, American exceptionalism, and strong national security.”
A survey in December by Public Policy Polling (D) gave Klobuchar an approval rating of 59%, with disapproval at only 29%. The same poll also showed her leading all hypothetical Republican opponents, including a 54%-40% advantage over Coleman.
Coleman previously served as mayor of St. Paul, having been originally elected as a Democrat but then switched parties to the Republicans. He was elected to the Senate in 2002, defeating former Vice President Walter Mondale after the incumbent Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash a week and a half before election day.
The 2008 Senate race against Democratic activist and former comedian Al Franken resulted in a recount and months of litigation, after Coleman’s initial lead of just over 200 votes was reversed in the recount. Franken eventually won by a final certified margin of 312 votes out of 2.9 million. Coleman ultimately conceded after a ruling against his claims by the state Supreme Court, and Franken was sworn into office in July 2009.