Al Franken, the semi-famed comedian and radio talk show host, is set to announce on Wednesday whether he'll run for the U.S. Senate next year against incumbent Republican Norm Coleman.

It appears that all systems are go, but some other Democrats are biding their time, ready to jump in if Franken doesn't. In the meantime, there's one announced Democrat in the race already.

No one in Minnesota can be surprised that Dick Franson is running. It's his sixth run for the Senate and 23rd campaign overall. The St. Paul Pioneer Press has a story about him today, and reporter Rachel E. Stassen-Berger couldn't resist giving Franson the full treatment:

He has a 14-year-old fax machine in the small galley kitchen in his South Minneapolis home, and at least once a month, sometimes a few times a month, he fires it up to send messages.

Many are rehashes of his previous faxes -- with one year crossed out and another written in.

"It takes about six hours to send one to everyone on my list," said Franson, as his slightly shaking hands feed a sheet through the machine while World War II-era crooners play in the background.

Generally, his faxes arrive in the middle of the night while their recipients get the sleep he doesn't need.