At The Nation's Campaign '08 blog, John Nichols reminds us that funnyman Al Franken isn't out of the running for the U.S. Senate just yet. As of last week's Minnesota primary, it's now officially a three-way race between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman, Democratic-Farmer-Labor candidate Franken, and Independence Party hopeful Dean Barkley. For those of you watching Ron Paul's Rally for the Republic two weeks back, Barkley is the fellow that Jesse Ventura nearly forgot to mention in the midst of his 9/11 conspiracy rant. Barkley served as chairman of Ventura's long shot gubernatorial campaign, served as Minnesota senator after Paul Wellstone's death in 2002 (appointed by Gov. Ventura, then replaced by the duly elected Norm Coleman), and worked as campaign manager for Kinky Friedman's independent run for governor of Texas in 2006.
Here's how Nichols breaks it down:
Because of his own high-spending campaign, sly moves to the political center and stumbles by Franken, Coleman had maintained an advantage in the race.
But Barkley, though his campaign is short on funds, has a big name and more than a little good will accumulated over many years of independent political activism. And, this year, Barkley seems to be drawing more from Coleman than Franken.
If Franken can secure the liberal DFL base, he might just make it to the Senate without a majority—as, it should be noted, Coleman did in 2002.