10 Things You Didn't Know About Norm Coleman

Coleman and Al Franken are locked in a battle for a U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota.

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1. Norman Bertram Coleman Jr. was born Aug. 17, 1949, in Brooklyn, N.Y. He was the third-oldest of the eight children of Norman and Beverly Coleman.

2. The Coleman family was involved in local Democratic Party politics. Norm Coleman has said that one of his earliest memories is of helping his grandfather distribute Adlai Stevenson campaign literature in the neighborhood.

3. Coleman graduated from James Madison High School in Brooklyn in 1966. Another future senator was there at the same time: New York's Chuck Schumer, who graduated one year later.

4. After high school, Coleman went on to Hofstra University on Long Island. There, he became a leader of anti-Vietnam War protests. He was active in student government, too, serving as the president of the Student Senate in 1970.

5. In 1969, Coleman spent a summer as a roadie for the band Ten Years After. That same year, he and a friend hitched a ride to Woodstock, where Coleman spent his 20th birthday.

6. After he received his bachelor's degree in 1971, Coleman went to work for the New York City building inspection department while he attended law school at night. Soon after, former Hofstra Vice President William Shanhouse recruited him to attend the University of Iowa law school, where he received a full scholarship.

7. Coleman came to Minnesota in 1976, when he was recruited to work in the state attorney general's office.

8. Coleman is married to the former Laurie Casserly, an actress and model. The couple has had four children, two of whom died in infancy of a genetic disorder.

9. Coleman became the mayor of St. Paul in 1994 as a member of the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) Party. Many praised him for his efforts to revitalize the city and to bring the Minnesota Wild hockey team to the city. However, he frequently found himself in conflict with more liberal members of the party. In 1996, he was sometimes booed at party events or excluded from them, even though he was cochair of Bill Clinton's campaign in Minnesota. Coleman switched to the Republican Party that December and won re-election as mayor the following year. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002 after his opponent, incumbent Sen. Paul Wellstone, was killed in a plane crash days before the election.

10. Coleman lists some of his hobbies as fishing, reading, and listening to music. Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan are two of his favorite artists.


  • Associated Press
  • Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Minnesota Monthly
  • St. Paul Pioneer Press
  • U.S.News & World Report