Al Franken wins Senate nomination

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MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) - Al Franken, a comedian and former liberal radio talk show host, won the Democratic nomination on Tuesday to run for a U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota.

In the November election, he will face incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and the Independence Party’s Dean Barkley, who also won their nominating contests, according to returns from the state’s primary election.

Franken, who once starred on the late-night sketch comedy program “Saturday Night Live,” outran six opponents, taking 66 percent of the vote, with more than half the returns counted.

Coleman had only token opposition. Barkley, who was appointed briefly to the U.S. Senate by former third-party Gov. Jesse Ventura after Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash in 2002, topped a field of seven candidates.

Minnesota is one of several battleground states as Democrats try to maintain or expand their slim control over the U.S. Senate.

Reporting by Michael Conlon; Editing by Peter Cooney