CQ has updated their assessment of the MN Senate race, from "leans Republican" to "tossup." This is good news for all of us who are working to unseat Norm Coleman and punish the Republicans. This was always going to be a tough race, as Coleman is remembered kindly as St. Paul's moderate mayor. But Al Franken has worked long and hard to establish his bona fides as a serious candidate, and the sinking fortunes of John McCain and the US Economy will only drag Republicans down across the nation.
The Rasmussen poll from Thursday showed Franken ahead of Coleman 43 - 37, with third-party candidate Dean Barkley earning 17 percent. The MPR-Humphrey Institute poll shows Franken leading Coleman and Barkley 41 - 37 - 17.
Pollster.com has also updated their composite of the MN Senate race, putting Franken just slightly ahead of Coleman. Barkley, of course, is drawing a sizeable amount of voters, but it's unclear just which candidate he will end up helping or hurting. Barkley has a long history in Minnesota politics, as does the third-party movement. I do believe that if it were not a "punish the Republicans" year, he would have a fair shot at winning. I saw him at the Nader rally during the RNC in Minneapolis, and he was in fine form (thank goodness the riot squad didn't hassle us).
For many of us in Minnesota, this Senate race is our chance to retake Paul Wellstone's seat. I'm still sore about the way the race turned in 2002, the way the Republican Noise Machine turned Wellsone's memorial service into political capitol. Coleman managed to squeak by and many of us never forgave him for it. Now is our chance to win the seat back for Paul.
Every Minnesotan needs to do their part. Work the phones, knock on doors, donate your time and money. Let's help Barack Obama by firing every damned Republican up for election. Let's get Al Franken elected. Let's win this for Paul!