ROCHESTER, MINN. Al Franken won a resounding endorsement for the U.S. Senate on Saturday from Minnesota Democrats, quickly dispatching with concerns about jokes that offended some and promising a tough challenge to Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.
"To the people of Minnesota, let me say this: I'm not a perfect person," said Franken, a former "Saturday Night Live" writer and performer. "I'm not going to pretend to have all the answers. But I'll tell the truth, I will keep my spine, and I will work for you."
Franken's only competitor, college professor and peace activist Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, withdrew after Franken passed the necessary 60 percent threshold on the first ballot. Nelson-Pallmeyer proposed that delegates unanimously back Franken, putting him over the top.
Franken's show of strength came as something of a surprise after a rocky few weeks in which some Democrats, led by U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, criticized a racy column he wrote for Playboy magazine in 2000 and, earlier this week, joking comments he was reported to have made about rape that were included in a 1995 New York magazine article about "Saturday Night Live."