Fact Sheet: Norm Coleman vs. Al Franken in Minnesota's U.S. Senate Race

Minnesota's U.S. Senate Race

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Current voter registration

3,180,333 (as of October 13, 2008)

The 2008 Senate Candidates

Incumbent: Norm Coleman (Republican)

  • Won his party's primary with 91.32 percent of vote


Al Franken (Democratic-Farmer-Labor)

  • Won his party's primary with 65.34 percent of vote

Dean Barkley (Independence)

  • Won his party's primary with 58.88 percent of vote

Other Items on This Year's Ballot

U.S. President, U.S. House of Representatives (eight seats), Minnesota House of Representatives, State Supreme Court and District Court judgeships, and a constitutional amendment that would raise the tax rate to fund conservation and other programs.

Fundraising and Spending (as of October 15)


  • Total Contributions: $78,516
  • Money Spent: $69,294
  • Cash on Hand: $9,221


  • Total Contributions: $14,772,651
  • Money Spent: $14,022,657
  • Cash on Hand: $2,487,181


  • Total Contributions: $17,004,806
  • Spent: $15,484,357
  • Cash on Hand: $1,520,449

Minnesota Demographics (as of 2007)*

  • Total Population: 5,197,621
  • Male 49.8%
  • Female 50.2%
  • Median Age 37.1
  • White 4,570,486 87.9%
  • African American 225,798 4.3%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native 51,764 1.0%
  • Asian alone 180,700 3.5%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 1,396 —
  • Some Other Race 71,518 1.4%
  • Two or More Races 95,959 1.8%
  • Hispanic/ Latino (of any race) 204,789 3.9%

*Total may not add up to 100 percent due to Census tracking methods.

2002 Senate Election

  • Norm Coleman (R): 1,116,697 49.53%
  • Walter Mondale (DFL): 1,067,246 47.34%
  • Paul Wellstone (DFL): 11,381 0.50%

(Wellstone, the incumbent senator, died in a plane crash two weeks before the 2002 election. Mondale was a last-minute replacement candidate for the DFL Party.)

Total votes: 2,282,860, an estimated 80.26 percent turnout.

Sources: Minnesota Secretary of State, Federal Election Commission, U.S. Census Bureau 2007 American Community Survey

Facts About the 2008 Minnesota Senate Race

1. Republican incumbent Norm Coleman was once a member of the state's other major party, the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL). He served his first term as mayor of St. Paul as a Democrat and switched his party affiliation when he ran for re-election in 1997.

2. Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley is a little-known former U.S. senator. In 2002, then-Governor Jesse Ventura appointed him to complete Senator Paul Wellstone's term after Wellstone was killed in a plane crash. Barkley served for eight weeks. He had run for Senate twice before, in 1994 and 1996.

3. Comedian and writer Al Franken moved back to his childhood home state of Minnesota to campaign for the Senate seat once held by his close friend Wellstone. He has long been politically active, though— in addition to his bestselling books skewering the right and his career as a host on the liberal radio network Air America, Franken has campaigned for Democratic candidates since Michael Dukakis's 1988 presidential run.


Coleman for Senate, Minneapolis Star-Tribune , RealClearPolitics