Franken Thanks Minnesota — And Coleman

Sen.-elect Al Franken (D-MN) held a press conference outside his Minneapolis home, celebrating his win in the long drama that has been the Minnesota Senate race.

“Franni [his wife] and I are so thrilled that we can finally celebrate this victory, and I’m so excited to finally be able to get to work for the people of Minnesota,” he said. “I received a very gracious call from Sen. Coleman a little while ago. He wished me well, I wished him well, and we agreed that it is time to finally bring this state together.”

It should be noted that during all the litigation and back-and-forth attacks, the Franken campaign and legal team would refer to Norm Coleman as “former Sen. Coleman.” But now that the race is over and it’s a time for civility and unity, the inherent insult of the “former” has now been put aside.

Franken said that the country faces many challenges in the economy and world affairs. “So even though Franni and I are thrilled and honored by the faith that Minnesotans have placed in me, I’m also humbled,” he said, “not just by the closeness of this election, but also by the enormity of the responsibilities that come with this office.”

He also said that much has been talked about, that he’ll be the 60th Democratic Senator. “The way I see it, I’m not going to Washington to be the 60th democratic senator. I’m going to Washington to be the second Senator from Minnesota, and that’s how I’m going to do this job,” he said, to the applause of his supporters.Franken said his phone call earlier today with Coleman was very pleasant. “It was really — it was a very gracious call, I must say. He said it was a very hard-fought campaign and I said it was, ‘Norm, it couldn’t have been closer,” said Franken. “And I said to him that Franni and I can only imagine what this is like for him and his family. And he just said, this is gonna be the best job you’ll ever have. And I hope it’s the best job I’ve ever had, and imagine – yes, I think it will be.”

A reporter asked about Coleman having recognized the court’s decision and congratulating Franken — but neglecting, in the reporter’s observation, to affirmatively say that Franken really won more votes. “Well, I think what you had is 12 judges look at this process through the canvassing process, through the recount, through the election contest, and the decision from the [state] Supreme Court,” said Franken, “all agreeing unanimously that I won the majority — well not the majority — that I won more votes than anybody else in the election. And I think that is conclusive, and I think that this has been as thorough and transparent and as painstaking as possible.”

“Well, one thing I take away from this is I won by 312 votes, so I really have to earn the trust of all the people who didn’t vote for me,” he added shortly afterward. “And to all the people of Minnesota, I want them to know not just by my words but by my actions, that I’ll be working for everyone in Minnesota, and I’ll be thinking about that every day when I wake up.”