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Minnesota Senate fight goes before state's high court

Al Franken, a Democrat, is ahead by 312 votes. Al Franken, a Democrat, is ahead by 312 votes.
Associated Press / June 1, 2009
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ST. PAUL - Al Franken and Norm Coleman's Senate battle goes before Minnesota's Supreme Court today, a critical point in a race that has dragged on for about half a year since the final vote was cast.

Coleman, the Republican incumbent, trails by 312 votes. He wants the state's justices to instruct a trial court to open 4,400 rejected absentee ballots.

Franken hopes the court sweeps aside the appeal, and demands that he get the election certificate required to take office. But the battle may not end if Coleman loses. The Republican could file a federal lawsuit or petition the US Supreme Court.

The stakes are high for his party - a Franken win would give Democrats and the two Senate independents who align with them the power to end GOP filibusters.

Coleman's and Franken's campaigns say they've spent a combined $50 million chasing the seat.