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Downballot: 7 months and counting...

MINNESOTA: "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," the AP says. "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."

The New York Times: "The outcome ... will determine whether Senate Democrats will have available the 60 votes necessary to kill filibusters. And while Mr. Coleman, who until recently held the seat, can continue to fight, the one-hour hearing before Minnesota's top court marks a crucial and potentially final stage, said Edward B. Foley, an election law expert at the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University."

More: "If the judges rule in Mr. Franken's favor, [Foley] said, they could order the governor to issue a certificate of election allowing Mr. Franken to be seated. If they agree with Mr. Coleman's arguments, they could send the case back to the lower court for a new vote count using more relaxed standards that allow the consideration of several thousand absentee ballots that were previously excluded."