The University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato says despite the fact that current Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid now likely has the votes he needs to pass Democratic legislation, he should heed the words of former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. (:18)
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CHICAGO (AFP) — Comic Al Franken formally won his battle for a US Senate seat from Minnesota on Tuesday, a victory that enhances Democrats’ ability to enact US President Barack Obama’s ambitious agenda.
Franken’s victory, quickly hailed by the White House, would give Democrats and their two reliable independent allies the 60 votes needed to overrun any Republican efforts to use parliamentary delaying tactics, such as filibusters.
Obama’s Democratic allies have a robust majority in the House of Representatives, so a unified, filibuster-proof Senate edge would deal a sharp blow to Republican efforts to block or force changes to major legislation.
Minnesota’s Supreme Court ruled in Franken’s favor after a months-long legal and political battle with Republican incumbent Norm Coleman over the results of the November 4 election.
Coleman quickly conceded and congratulated his rival, while the state’s Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, said he would shortly sign the formal document certifying Franken’s victory.
“I’m thrilled and honored by the faith that Minnesotans have placed in me,” said Franken, who rose to fame on the legendary Saturday Night Live comedy show. “We have a lot of work to do in Washington.”
Republicans looking to derail or modify Obama-backed legislation would likely target a handful of swing-vote Democrats who have indicated discomfort with some of the president’s plans.