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Still Counting And Recounting

Comedian-turned-activist Al Franken will travel to Washington, DC Tuesday to meet with Democratic Senate leaders as he awaits the outcome of a mandatory recount in his bid to unseat Senator Norm Coleman who currently holds a 206-vote lead pending the results. Coleman spokesman Mark Drake told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that is "highly presumptuous for Mr. Franken to undertake such a visit when his real purpose appears to be fundraising and gaining partisan advantage from non-Minnesotans."

Franken spokesperson Colleen Murray said Franken, who is skipping an orientation session, is only trying hit the ground running should he prevail. "If he should win this election, it would be irresponsible for him not to get ready to take office," Murray said. "Minnesota deserves a senator who is ready to take office on Day One."

The recount will begin on Wednesday morning. Also Wednesday, a hearing has been set on a lawsuit filed by Franken to gain access to the names of absentee voters whose ballots were rejected. The campaign says it wants to determine whether those votes were disqualified for proper reasons.

In Georgia, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile will be advising Democrat Jim Martin in his runoff against Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss, the AP reports, as early voting began today. Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee stumped for Chambliss in the state over the weekend and John McCain made an appearance for his colleague last week. Look for a parade of surrogates in the state as both sides look to increase turnout for the December 2nd runoff election.

Meanwhile, in Alaska, the situation remains precarious for incumbent Republican Senator Ted Stevens who currently trails Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich by 1,022 votes with about 24,000 votes yet to be counted. Observers said that Stevens' best opportunity to narrow the gap appeared to have been in last Friday's vote counting because it included his strongest areas of the state, according to the Anchorage Daily News. The counting will resume on Tuesday.

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