As he awaits a state Supreme Court ruling to be seated provisionally in the U.S. Senate, Democrat Al Franken has begun making appearances throughout the state of Minnesota officially referring to himself as “senator-elect,” the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Franken, who holds a slim 225-vote lead over former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman after the statewide recount was completed in early January, appeared Monday afternoon at a meeting with several of the state’s big-city mayors and school board members to discuss the economic crisis and stimulus package.
"His goal," a press release issued by Franken’s camp, which billed the appearance as a roundtable discussion with "Senator-elect" Al Franken, "is to learn what Minnesota's cities need most from Washington."
Franken, who reportedly corrects people when referred to as "senator," has been traveling the state meeting with local leaders to listen and learn about local problems, despite the Minnesota State Canvassing board’s reluctance to name him as such 105 days after the election.
At a press conference following the appearance, Franken said he doesn’t insist people address him as senator-elect, but said "technically" it was correct.
"I think that technically is the term. I won the recount, but, again you can call me Al," Coleman said. "The best thing I can do is prepare myself in every way so that when I get to Washington, I will hit the ground running."
Coleman, who expects to win back the senate seat in court, is continuing his fight through the Minnesota legal system. The trial moved into its fourth week of proceedings Monday.
"It's a joke. It's really the worst PR gimmick, PR stunt I've seen in a long time," Coleman spokesman Mark Drake says. "Al Franken is absolutely not Senator-elect. In order to be senator-elect, you need an election certificate, and Al certainly doesn't have one."
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