Speed Reads

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From a recount to a landslide: Sen. Al Franken easily wins re-election

This Election Night must feel very good for Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who easily won re-election against Republican businessman Mike McFadden. All the more so since his last one, back in 2008, featured a seemingly endless recount that ran into the next calendar year.

In 2008, the former entertainer and Democratic activist defeated incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in a contentious statewide recount, which was followed by months and months of litigation. Franken originally trailed narrowly on Election Night — indeed, it was not until late December of 2008 that he took the lead in the recount. After the recount, Coleman mounted a legal challenge that prevented the certification of any winner in the race at all, until Franken finally won both the trial and Coleman's appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Franken's final, certified margin of victory in that squeaker of an election was a mere 312 votes out of about 2.9 million ballots cast — and he was finally sworn into office on July 7, 2009, six months after the term would have officially begun.