Al Franken

Dimitrios Kambouris/

People really like him. But enough to make Stuart Smalley a senator?

We'll know in November as former SNL player Al Franken completed his transformation to serious political contender, easily trouncing all rivals Tuesday in a primary election to become the Democratic candidate attempting to unseat Minnesota's Republican Senator Norm Coleman.

In the seven-way contest, the 57-year-old funnyman had 65 percent of the vote compared to 29 percent for his closest opponent, Priscilla Lord Faris.

"We're going to focus every day and the next 56 days on the issues in this race, and on why I'm running: To change the way Washington works," Franken said in his acceptance speech.

He will now face off against incumbent Coleman, who handily won the Republican nomination, and Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley, in a three-way race for what's shaping up to be the most highly anticipated Senate battle this election season.

Franken rose to fame first as a writer and then as a Not Ready for Primetime Player on Saturday Night Live. More recently, he's written bestselling political screeds taking on the likes of Rush Limbaugh and offered political commentary on a nationally syndicated radio show on Air America.

In 2007, Franken quit show biz and declared his intention to run against Coleman for the Senate.

Now it's up to the voters of Minnesota to decide whether he's ready for prime time.

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