Al Franken was born in New York City and now lives in Minneapolis. He earned a bachelor's from Harvard University.
Franken worked as a writer for the television show "Saturday Night Live" from 1975 to 1980 and from 1985 to 1995. He then launched a second career as a liberal satirist and pundit, publishing several books and hosting a show on the liberal Air America Radio network.
Franken moved back to Minnesota in 2005 where he became an active fundraiser and campaigner for Democratic candidates in the state. He stepped down from his radio job in early 2007 and announced his run for the U.S. Senate.
Franken won election to the Senate in July 2009 after an eight-month recount battle against then-incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.
Franken and his wife, Franni, have two children.
Elected to the U.S. Senate from Minnesota by the slimmest of margins, Al Franken is now getting ready to defend that seat in a 2014 election likely to be just as hard-fought as the race that got him into the Senate in the first place.
Franken joined the Senate in the summer of 2009, nearly six months after the rest of his freshman class colleagues and only after a statewide recount and ensuing lawsuit between him and former Sen. Norm Coleman. The two split Minnesota's vote nearly evenly in the 2008 election, and the contest finally culminated when the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Franken had won the contest.
A former "Saturday Night Live" performer and liberal satirist, Franken has in his first three years on the job turned out to be more under-the-radar in the Senate than expected. He has bonded with colleagues — even Republicans — and quietly passed bills and shepherded amendments through the complicated processes of the chamber. At the same time, Franken said he's turned down requests for interviews from national TV shows.
Franken has put his stamp on legislation. His first bill, the Service Dogs for Disabled Veterans Act, became law in October 2009 as part of a larger defense bill. He also sponsored a provision in the 2010 health care reform bill that requires insurers to spend at least 85 percent of premiums on medical costs. His amendment to the 2010 financial regulation reform bill aims to stop financial institutions from choosing their own credit rating agencies.
In 2012, Franken joined his Democratic colleague Sen. Amy Klobuchar in voting for a bill to fund construction of a new bridge over the St. Croix River in Stillwater — despite opposition from some environmental groups and fellow Democrats.
Franken has not shied away from speaking out on a few issues important to Democrats. He was a strong supporter of the Supreme Court nominations of Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, and has been an ardent spokesman in favor of so-called net neutrality proposals that backers believe would protect Internet users from free speech impingement by service providers.
Franken emerged during the 2010 and 2012 election cycle as a prolific fundraiser for Democratic candidates. It's a skill likely to serve him well as he prepares for his own re-election effort. Given Franken's narrow win and previous work as a provocateur, the race is expected to attract a big-name Republican challenger — Coleman could seek a rematch, and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty is also seen as a top prospect.
Committee Assignments: Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; Judiciary; Indian Affairs; Energy and Natural Resources
American Conservative Union Rating: 0
Americans for Democratic Action Rating: 95
Al Franken won his August 2014 primary, he will face Mike McFadden, Steve Carlson and Heather Johnson in November.
(Last updated by The Associated Press on August 13, 2014.)