Minnesota went largely blue in the 2006 elections, and the overriding Republican national outlook for 2008 is poor. However, Coleman leads Franken, a polarizing figure, by comfortable margins in all polls. Wealthy lawyer Mike Ciresi is also seeking the Democratic nomination, but Franken is equally well financed and is a favorite among anti-Bush activists.
A footnote: Republican Sen. Gordon Smith, considered vulnerable for re-election from the blue state of Oregon, also was fortunate in losing his toughest Democratic potential foe. Rep. Pete DeFazio decided instead to stay in the House, where he is chairman of a Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittee.
With Sen. Hillary Clinton battling Sen. Barack Obama for the African-American vote, Bill Clinton has been named honorary chairman of the 15th annual Congressional Black Caucus Spouses Golf and Tennis Tournament next month.
The "two-day retreat" June 24 and 25 will be held at the Landsdowne Resort in Landsdowne, Va., 35 miles from Washington. The charity event to fund college scholarships will simultaneously hold golf, tennis and whist competitions.
On April 20, lobbyists and other contributors to African-American members of Congress received a mailing: "Just a reminder that you have less than 40 working days (Monday-Friday) to register [for the tournament]."