When Al Franken launched his campaign to unseat Republican Senator Norm Coleman in Minnesota a couple of years ago, I like many, thought it was a bad joke. Now with less then two weeks until the election, Senator Coleman and Al Franken are neck-in-neck in the polls and running a very expensive race. Read more about it below, see photos and videos.

The race in Minnesota is among the most expensive of the country’s 35 Senate races this year. Senator Norm Coleman and his challenger, former SNL comedian and Bill O’Reilly nemesis Al Franken, have so far raised more than $34 million combined, and experts predict that much also could be spent by outside groups trying to influence the election.

It was just a few months ago the Senator Norm Coleman(R-MN) enjoyed double-digit leads in state-wide polls, and the first term Republican still has some $5 million on hand to spend on his re-election bid. But his connection to a now-unpopular President Bush, who Coleman campaigned vigorously for in 2004, is proving to be a liability, with state Democratic leaders – and Franken – painting Coleman as a Bush loyalist.

Having never held political office, Al Franken on the other hand, leaves behind no voting record to scrutinize, nor policies to critique. Which would be a tremendous advantage if Franken had made his living as anything other than a nasty, snide comedian who joked about everything from child abuse to raping Lesley Stahl.

The race, besides being expensive, is dirty. Norm Coleman’s home was just vandalized – the garage defaced with the words: “U R A criminal resign or else”; “Scum”; and “Psalm 2.”

Both Coleman and Franken are bringing in party big wigs to help them. Hillary Clinton has campaigned with Franken and appears in one of his latest ads. She urged a crowd of about 2,000 at the University of Minnesota to elect Democrats, including Al Franken, to the Senate in order to help the party achieve the 60 seats it needs to overcome a Republican filibuster – a certain long, cold winter for Republicans.

“You have friends who’ve decided to vote for Obama/Biden but haven’t yet decided who to vote for in the Senate race,” Clinton said. “How are they going to feel if they vote for Barack Obama but don’t get that majority we need in the Senate?”

Last Thursday, Rudy Giuliani visited Minnesota. With Norm Coleman standing by his side, Rudy told a Rochester, Minnesota crowd that the United States faces difficult times and it can’t afford someone “who looks to the United States Senate as an entry level job.”

“There are enough comics in Washington,” Rudy said. “They don’t need another.”

Well said Rudy. If the idea of sending Al Franken to the Senate in place of Senator Norm Coleman nauseates you, like it does me, go here to support the re-election of Coleman.

Norm Coleman ‘Adoption’ Video

Al Franken ‘Who Is He?’ Video

h/t micky