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Franken Plagued By 2000 Playboy Article

A Playboy article written in 2000 by current Minnesota Democratic Senate candidate Al Franken has caused a maelstrom of outrage -- and not just from the opposing party.

With just a week before the state convention, where Franken was all but assured of winning the DFL endorsement (which is often tantamount to the nomination), the endorsement could now be in question because of a sexually explicit article he wrote eight years ago on the future of pornography.

Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum, who represents St. Paul and Ramsey County, has been particularly perturbed by the piece. "As a woman, a mother, a former teacher, and an elected official, I find this material completely unacceptable," McCollum said, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. McCollum had supported wealthy attorney Mike Cerisi in the primary before he dropped out earlier this year.

The Star Tribune also quoted other Democratic congressmen from Minnesota who found the article to be inappopriate, including Reps. Keith Ellison and Tim Walz, both of whom are freshmen. McCollum also stated that during a weekly meeting the Minnesota Democratic delegation holds, "The overwhelming majority of us thought it was a serious political problem," while "others thought it was a problem but that it would blow over."

The article was first circulated by the Minnesota Republican Party last week, The Hill reported then.

The Franken campaign has responded, saying that the work was merely satire. And Franken spokesman Andy Barr also directly responded to McCollum, saying "it's unfortunate that she's trying to create divisions in our party rather than working with other DFLers to take on [Coleman]," according to the Star Tribune.

In general election polling, Sen. Norm Coleman currently holds a 6.3-point lead over Franken in the RCP Average for Minnesota.

--Kyle Trygstad