ST. PAUL, Minn., Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Democrat Al Franken, the declared winner of the Minnesota U.S. Senate election, has emerged as a top political enemy for Republicans, observers say.
With GOP incumbent Norm Coleman's chances of retaining his seat now dependent upon a long-shot legal challenge to an election recount, Franken's likely ascension to the Senate is infuriating Republicans who resent his past as a highly partisan liberal comedian, the Washington publication Politico reported Saturday.
"I don't know if we've ever had an opponent who is so disliked by Republicans as Al Franken," Minnesota Republican Party Chairman Ron Carey told the publication. "It's one thing to lose to an honorable opponent, but Al Franken is not considered an honorable opponent by Minnesota Republicans."
"It's going to be hard for Franken to be very effective with any Republicans, in terms of having any credibility with us, just because he's been so nasty in the past," added Marty Seifert, the Republican leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives. "He certainly has callous and very partisan behavior in the past that is beyond the pale."
"I think it's impossible to overstate the hostility Minnesota Republicans feel toward Al Franken," Carleton College political scientist Steven Schier told Politico.