It appears that Al Franken will be the Democratic nominee to challenge Norm Coleman in the Minnesota Senate race. Franken's main rival, lawyer Mike Ciresi, dropped out of the race yesterday. The most recent poll I can find, from Rasmussen three weeks ago, had Franken narrowly beating Coleman, 49–46. His fundraising is also slightly outpacing Coleman's. Expect it to stay very close all the way to the election--Franken is proving to be a more formidable candidate than many thought he'd be when he announced.

It's also worth noting that Minnesota, like nearly all the other states with Senate races the Democrats are targeting (Virginia, Colorado, New Hampshire, Maine, Oregon, New Mexico) is a state where Barack Obama seems to be running stronger against John McCain than Hillary Clinton is. This is a quirk of this year's Senate map as much as anything--six of the top eight 2006 Senate races were in states where Clinton looks like a stronger nominee.

--Josh Patashnik