Comedian Al Franken has pulled ahead in the marathon race for the U.S. Senate seat in his home state of Minnesota.
The former Saturday Night Live star has been deadlocked with his political opponent, Republican Senator Norm Coleman, since the Supreme Court called for a recount on 19 November (08) - because Franken trailed by less than one-half of one per cent of the total.
But after a five-member state board began reviewing the disputed ballots this week (beg15Dec08), the comedian jumped ahead by more than 100 votes, taking the lead at 249.
Franken's recount lawyer Marc Elias explains, "When the recount is over and all the votes that were legally cast are counted, Al Franken will have won this election and will be declared the winner."
However, a spokesperson for Coleman has been quick to brush off the lead: "We encourage everyone to just hang on until the process is finished."
A state court ruled on Thursday (18Dec08) an estimated 1,600 absentee ballots had been improperly rejected and would still need to be reviewed.