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Congress: Franken wins, 238 days later

Minnesota, your long Senate race nightmare is over.

The Star Tribune: "Al Franken, a satirist known for his biting political humor, is headed to the U.S. Senate, the survivor of an epic legal struggle that opponent Norm Coleman finally conceded he couldn't win."
And is Minnesota governor on Coleman's mind... again? "Conceding defeat outside his St. Paul home shortly after the court ruling, Coleman sidestepped questions about whether he would turn his attention to running for governor in 2010. 'We'll talk about the future in short order,' he said."

The Washington Post: "In a unanimous ruling, the court rejected Republican Norm Coleman's legal arguments that some absentee ballots had been improperly counted and that some localities had used inconsistent standards in counting votes. The ruling led Coleman to concede his Senate seat to Franken, who could be sworn in as soon as next week, when the Senate returns from a recess." 

According to NBC's Pete Williams, Minnesota officials intend to hand-deliver the official election certificate to the U.S. Senate this morning. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and the secretary of state signed the papers at about 7:15 ET last night. Copies of the documents were faxed to the Secretary of the U.S. Senate last night, and the originals were sent overnight for delivery this morning. This clears the way for Franken to be sworn in when the Senate reconvenes next week, after the July 4th break.

Franken is on the cover of the Boston Globe with the headline: "Franken wins long Minn. battle, gives Democrats a 60th Senate vote.

The New York Times: "It was an oddly abrupt ending to an election contest that had left Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, handling the state's business alone and had left many ordinary Minnesotans weary of the fight."  

Per NBC's Dax Tejera, Franken holds a victory rally in St. Paul at 1:00 pm ET.

As the AP warns -- channeling the Cook Political Report's Jennifer Duffy from way back before November '08 -- 60 votes doesn't guarantee Dem success. "[N]umbers aren't the same as votes in the Senate. And to enact administration priorities on health care, energy and other issues, Democrats will have to remain as united in support of legislation as Republicans are in opposition, no easy task in an institution where lawmakers weigh regional concerns, ideology and narrow political self-interest as well as party loyalty." 
The Hill: "But even as Franken becomes the 60th Democrat in the Senate, health problems could prevent the party from actually being able to field its full team on a given vote. Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) was released from the hospital Tuesday after spending a few weeks there -- a stay that included treatment for a staph infection for the 91-year-old incumbent. And Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) should also continue to miss time in the Senate as he battles a brain tumor."
And note The Hill's analysis -- and chart -- on Dems who've broken with their party, as the party has gotten a greater majority: "At least three dozen vulnerable Democrats have deserted their party during important votes this year -- a move that could bolster their reelection chances but has left Democrats lacking unity."
Roll Call warns that Franken's seating -- and No. 60 -- raises the bar for Dems: "On the one hand, 60 is the magic number to beat back a GOP-led filibuster. On the other, Democrats will have no one but themselves to blame if they can't pass President Barack Obama's ambitious plans to rewrite health care, overhaul banking regulations and tackle global warming. And Democratic infighting will likely be the predominant media storyline rather than the partisan gridlock that has characterized the chamber over the past several years."