Franken of Minnesota claims 60th Democratic Senate seat
Nearly eight months after Minnesota's disputed Senate race in November 2008, Al Franken, a former comedian and author, was sworn-in to the Senate on July 7 as the state's junior Senator. Franken had recently been certified as the winner of the contentious race against incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman. The Minnesota Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling that Franken was the winner by 312 votes.
Franken also accepted several committee assignments, including a seat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee that is leading the effort to draft comprehensive health care reform legislation.
Senator Franken has been supportive of Democratic efforts for health care reform and his presence will provide an additional edge to pass legislation. Although the Democrats now have a 60-member super majority - the three-fifths majority required to end a filibuster in the chamber - individual members may break party ranks on key votes.
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