By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sen. Al Franken’s margin of victory in Tuesday’s election was a landslide compared to his razor-thin win six years ago.

In July of 2009, after a seven-month recount and a drawn-out legal challenge, Franken was finally declared the winner by just 312 votes.

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While the margin of Franken’s victory this time was predicted by recent polls, as recently as a year ago he was not expected to do nearly as well.

Franken and his family were greeted with cheers after his decisive win Tuesday night.

“Thank you for taking a chance on me six years ago,” Franken said. “And thank you for giving me the chance to keep working for you in Washington.”

Franken said it was great to get the large margin of victory.

“It was very different than last time, obviously,” he said. “It was gratifying. I think we ran a race based on what I’ve done.”

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In his victory speech, the senator promised to continue working on issues he has championed, including renegotiating student loans and labor-union rights.

But Franken was somber earlier in the evening as he watched returns that showed Republicans gaining control of the U.S. Senate. He says he can still get things done.

“I think we’ll get some stuff done in the lame duck [session], and I think we’re going to be able to work on immigration again because we have to,” Franken said.

He may be returning to a Senate where Democrats will no longer be the majority, but he returns as a senator who won re-election with an overwhelming victory.

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Esme Murphy