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AFSCME splits backing between Ciresi, Franken in Senate race

ST. PAUL (AP) -- Both attorney Mike Ciresi and comedian Al Franken can claim the backing of a well-known union as they vie for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate.

Last month, the political arm of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5 endorsed Franken. On Tuesday, AFSCME Council 65 announced it was supporting Ciresi.

Council 65 represents county government employees and counts 13,000 members. Council 5 represents 43,000 public and nonprofit employees in the state.

Ciresi and Franken are competing for the chance to take on Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in November.

Other Democrats after the nomination are professor Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, environmental activist Jim Cohen and frequent candidate Dick Franson.