238 days--over two thirds of a year--after Election Day, Al Franken has won his U.S. Senate race against Norm Coleman, as the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled in his favor 5-0 after the protracted legal battle that saw an election recount, allegations of unconstitutionality by Coleman's lawyers and of fraud by partisan observers, and 32 absentee ballots allegedly left in an election official's car. Read the opinion here. Coleman reportedly has not ruled out a federal case.
So the Democrats are up to 60 Senate seats with this result--which many in Washington thought would happen eventually--presuming Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) certifies Franken, as he's said he would if the court ruled in Franken's favor.
With 60 seats, Democrats can now break Republican filibusters and pass whatever legislation they want...as long as the centrists in their caucus, particularly Sens. Arlen Specter (PA), Ben Nelson (NE), Mark Pryor (AK), and Blanche Lincoln (AK) agree...or as long as they can win over a centrist Republican like Sen. Susan Collins (ME) or Olympia Snowe (ME). As we saw with the stimulus, the clump of senators in the middle possess a lot of influence...in that regard, not much has changed, though Franken's vote should help.
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