Coleman Concedes, Sending Franken to Senate

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The Minnesota Supreme Court has ordered that Democrat Al Franken be certified as the winner of the state's long-running U.S. Senate race.

The high court rejected a legal challenge from Republican Norm Coleman, whose options for regaining the Senate seat are dwindling.

The race is key to politicians because it gives Democrats a 60-seat majority in the Senate-- the number they need to overcome Republican filibusters and push through party legislation including a new energy bill and moves for universal healthcare.

Tuesday, the court ruled Franken is entitled to the election certificate he needs to fill the Senate seat. 

The election has been a nail-biting race from the start.

Incumbent Norm Coleman held a razor-thin lead over Franken after the initial Nov. 4 vote tally, but it was so close it triggered an automatic recount which pushed Franken ahead by about 200 votes.

Coleman challenged that tally, and a second look at some previously rejected absentee ballots only added to Franken's lead.

If Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty signs Fraken's certificate, he will likely take his Senate seat next week after Congress returns from its Fourth of July recess.

Republicans still have hope for some power in the Senate with Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter.  Specter recently switched parties to become a Democrat, but has said that doesn't mean he'll always vote with the majority.

There are also several moderate Democrats like Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who could end up giving their own party trouble on some votes.

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