Democrat Al Franken has netted a big endorsement in his bid to challenge Republican Sen. Norm Coleman next year.
The political arm of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 voted Saturday to back Franken, a comedian turned candidate. The politically potent union also screened Franken's main rival for the Democratic nomination, Minneapolis attorney Mike Ciresi.
The union represents 43,000 public and nonprofit employees in the state. Its leaders said in a news release that Franken's membership in four entertainment unions and his proven ability to raise money for the campaign put him in a stronger position than Ciresi.
AFSCME said Coleman didn't respond to an invitation to meet with screeners for a possible endorsement.
Other Democrats vying for the nomination are professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, environmental activist Jim Cohen and frequent candidate Dick Franson.