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Franken declared winner, giving Democrats 60 Senate seats

June 30, 2009
Miami Herald

Al Franken’s victory in the long-contested Minnesota U.S. Senate race means that Democrats will control 60 Senate seats for the first time in 30 years, but they will still face obstacles to passing major legislation.

On paper, the party now has the muscle to block any Republican filibuster, since it takes 60 votes under Senate rules to end debate and move to a final vote. However, two key Democratic senators are battling serious illnesses, two others are independents who caucus with the party but aren’t sure votes with the majority, and all senators have diverse constituencies that sometimes lead them to break ranks with their parties.

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