Long deemed the frontrunner, Al Franken received the Minnesota DFL’s endorsement via acclamation today when opponent Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer withdrew from the race at the convention in Rochester. The Progressive Professor, whose resume remains impressive, was likely a shade too far to the left to win over centrist democrats and independents in the upcoming battle against Senator Norm Coleman.
Although Franken’s campaign seemed to crack when the MN GOP released, with cleverly calculated timing, an old Playboy column the satirist had written over eight years ago, he held onto his lead.
Falling prey to the dustup created by MN GOP’s release of the Playboy column, US Rep Betty McCollum (D-MN) took an outspoken stance against Franken. McCollum was the campaign co-chairman for Franken’s democratic opponent, Mike Ciresi, who failed to secure enough delegates to remain competitive. McCollum wasn’t the only politician to address the Playboy column, but she was the loudest.
In a defensive, yet contrite, statement released Thursday night, Franken said:
“I understand and regret that people have been legitimately offended by some of the things I’ve written.”
Six female Minnesota republican leaders, including State Rep Laura Brod and Senator Michelle Fischbach, wrote a letter to Franken attacking him on the grounds of feminism and in defense of women everywhere. However, none of the signatories to the letter are in favor of universal health care and all are strong opponents of a woman’s right to choose. Additionally, Fischbach has authored legislation to deny women with eating disorders (whose cause she claims to champion) access to health care through the Mental Health Parity Act.
In rebuttal to the letter to Franken, Shannon Drury, President of the Minnesota Chapter of the National Organization for Women, proclaimed herself a lifelong feminist who heartily supports Al Franken.
“Al Franken stands in support of Minnesota women, and I stand in support of him…In fact, Al Franken will be a senator who will work tirelessly in support of women’s issues. After meeting with Al personally, I found his honesty and openness refreshing, his intelligence and perserverance inspiring.”
Considering Al Gore’s endorsement of Franken, and Franni Franken’s personal assurance that her husband is, indeed, very respectful of women, the majority of DFL delegates remained faithful and voted to endorse Al Franken for US Senate earlier today.