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Cheers for a classy ending

Cheers to Al Franken and Norm Coleman for the classy way both campaigns handled the Minnesota Supreme Court decision Tuesday that effectively affirmed Franken as the winner of the U.S. Senate race.

Either man could have been excused for being less than gracious at the end of the long, tough fight.

It started with an expensive, no-holds-barred election campaign, followed by a bitter eight-month recount process that, by itself, cost in the neighborhood of $10 million.

Republican Coleman said that while he does not agree with the court's ruling, he respects it.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed Franken's election certificate, removing the last obstacle for the Democrat to become senator.

"I congratulate Al Franken and his victory in this election," Coleman said from the lawn of his St. Paul home. "He now enjoys the advantage that our congressional delegation has over the other 525 people on Capitol Hill: He represents Minnesota."

The high court agreed with a district court decision that Franken received more votes than Coleman.

"I don't reach this point with any big regrets," Coleman said. "I ran the campaign I wanted. I conducted the legal challenge I wanted. And I have always believed you do the best you can and leave the results up to a higher authority. I'm at peace with that. As to my future plans, that's a subject for another day."

Franken reached out to Minnesotans of all political beliefs.

"We have a lot of work to do in Washington," he said. "But that's why I signed up for the job in the first place ... No matter whether you voted for me, or for Sen. Coleman, or for Sen. (Dean) Barkley, or whether you voted at all, I want the people of Minnesota to know that I'm ready to work for all of you, and that I'm committed to being a voice for all Minnesotans in the U.S. Senate."

Franken could be sworn in as early as next week, putting the Minnesota congressional delegation back at full strength at last.

Maybe Coleman has an eye on the governor's mansion, and doesn't want to ruffle Minnesotans any more than he already has, but we're still grateful he didn't try to pursue the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, as some national Republican leaders had urged him to do.

It's well past time to put this election to rest.