Norm Coleman's term as a U.S. Senator ended at noon Washington time on Saturday, and by evening his hopes of winning a second term had been dealt an expected but serious setback as state officials counted previously rejected absentee ballots in St. Paul.
Democrat Al Franken held an unofficial lead of 226 votes over Coleman as this edition of the Star Tribune went to press, according to a newspaper tally of officials' count of the absentee ballots. Franken had led unofficially by 49 votes going into the day and gained a net 177 votes from the new ballots.
I doubt Norm or the goppies will stop at the actual ending of the ballot counts, but for now the election is over and we can seat our new senator next week. Congrats Al!