Alan Stuart "Al" Franken is an American politician and the junior United States Senator from Minnesota, serving since 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, he narrowly defeated incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman in 2008. Prior to serving in the Senate, he was a writer and performer for the television show Saturday Night Live from its conception in 1975 to 1980, returning in 1985 until 1995. After leaving SNL, he wrote and acted in several movies and television shows. He also hosted his nationally syndicated, political radio talk show The Al Franken Show, and authored six books, four of which are political satires critical of right-wing politics. Franken declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate in 2007 and after a close race, he trailed Coleman by 215 votes. After a statewide manual recount, required because of the closeness of the election, Franken was declared the winner by a margin of 312 votes. After an election contest and subsequent lawsuit by Coleman, the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously upheld his victory on June 30, 2009 and Franken was sworn into the Senate on July 7, 2009.
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