The Minnesota State canvassing board officially declared comedian Al Franken the winner of the country’s most hotly contested Senate race yesterday. Franken defeated Sen. Norm Coleman by just 225 votes.
Still, don’t expect to see the former Saturday Night Live comedian up on Capitol Hill today, getting sworn in with the rest of the 111th Congress. Coleman is expected to file a lawsuit contesting the decision. So the North Star State might have just one senator for a while.
We’ve written before that Coleman and Franken couldn’t be further apart when it comes to education, particularly the No Child Left Behind Act, which Franken rather wonkily criticized on late night television.
So if Franken really does enter the Senate, what does that mean for education?
Regardless, he would have gotten to Washington with a razor-thin margin of victory. So unless things change drastically, he’s almost certain to face an uphill battle for re-election and he’ll need all the money and grassroots support he can get, including the support of his state’s teachers’ unions.
So I wouldn’t expect him to back away much from his stance that NCLB needs to be scrapped or very significantly reshaped, unless he gets lots of political cover from other Democrats, especially President-elect Obama.
And, with Coleman’s departure, the moderate, pro-accountability Republicans will lose yet another important voice, meaning that a greater majority of the remaining Republicans will fall into the Scale Back the Federal Role in Education camp, as exemplified by this piece of legislation.