ROCHESTER, MINN. — Al Franken won a resounding endorsement for the U.S. Senate on Saturday from Minnesota Democrats, quickly addressing concerns about jokes that offend some people 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, professor and peace activist Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, withdrew after Franken passed the necessary 60% threshold on the first ballot. Nelson-Pallmeyer asked that the delegates unanimously back Franken.
Franken's show of strength came as something of a surprise after a rocky few weeks in which he was criticized for a racy column he wrote for Playboy in 2000, along with other material attributed to him.
Rumors flew that Franken's support was collapsing and that other candidates were considering late entries into the endorsement stakes.
Franken addressed the controversy in his speech to delegates, acknowledging that some things he said and wrote over 35 years as a writer were "downright offensive."