New Ad Pressures Pawlenty To Seat Franken

Liberal advocacy group Americans United For Change has released a new ad pressuring Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty to "act in the best interest of Minnesota" and certify Democrat Al Franken as the state's senator.

Franken was declared the victor in his battle against Norm Coleman for the Minnesota Senate seat following a recount and legal wrangling that has lasted for months. Coleman is now appealing the decision to the state Supreme Court.

"Most Minnesotans – including Republicans – believe that once the state Supreme Court rules, Governor Pawlenty should do his legal duty and certify Al Franken as our senator," an announcer says in the spot. "But the national Republican donors don't want Minnesota to have our rightful representation in the Senate. The Republican Campaign Chairman, Texas Senator Cornyn, said Norm Coleman's court challenges could take 'years' to resolve."

"Now Governor Pawlenty has a choice," the announcer continues. "Will he act in the best interest Minnesota or his own national political ambitions?"

These words then appear onscreen: "Call Governor Pawlenty at 800-657-3717. Ask him to put Minnesota's interest ahead of political ambition."

The stakes for the Minnesota seat increased this week with Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter's announcement that he is becoming a Democrat, effectively giving the party 59 votes in the Senate. If and when Franken is seated, the Democrats will have 60 votes and a filibuster-proof majority – though that would require the votes of all 60 senators who caucus with the party, which is far from a sure thing.

National Republicans, who would prefer to keep Franken from becoming a voting member for as long as possible, have raised money for Coleman's legal effort.

Americans United For Change's Jeremy Funk says the group is spending "five-figures" to air the spot on cable. He said it will run on cable in the twin cities and Rochester media markets starting tomorrow and is going to run through the week.