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Coleman Marches On (And On)

Norm Coleman (R) is vowing to fight on in the Minnesota Senate race. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

Former senator Norm Coleman (R) fell further behind in his race against entertainer Al Franken (D) yesterday but vowed to continue to fight on in his challenge of the Minnesota results.

The inclusion of more than 400 absentee ballots -- a fraction of the ballots Coleman had wanted counted -- as mandated by a three-judge state panel that oversaw Coleman's election contest resulted in an 87-vote net gain for Franken, increasing his margin over Coleman from 225 to 312.

In a conference call immediately following the announcement of Franken's extended edge, Coleman legal counsel Ben Ginsberg called the result "an unfortunate and sad development in the sense that there weren't ten times more than that open and counted."

Ginsberg also reiterated his pledge that Coleman would file an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court within ten days of a final ruling by the three-judge panel, which he said is likely to come this week. "This court was absolutely wrong in failing to open the ballots of the Minnesotans who were disenfranchised," Ginsberg noted.

Asked whether there was any reasonable chance that the state Supreme Court would overturn the lower court's decision in the contest, Ginsberg praised the "inquiring minds" on the state's top bench and said, as a result, the Coleman side is more optimistic about their chances in this appeal.

It remains to be seen how much more rope Republicans are willing to offer Coleman as his legal options narrow.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn (Texas) was quick to praise Coleman's appeal decision on Tuesday, calling it "critical for this process to move forward before the Minnesota Supreme Court and why Senate Republicans fully support Senator Coleman's efforts."

That's a significant vote of confidence but comes amid increasing signs in some Republican circles that patience with Coleman is wearing thin.

Yesterday Democrats circulated a statement made by conservative columnist Ramesh Ponnuru ("I think it's time for him to give up his fight," wrote Ponnuru on the National Review blog) and today sent around former Minnesota Republican Sen. Dave Durenberger's comments that suggested Coleman needed to reconsider his ongoing legal fight. "At some point, somebody has to deal with what's the will of the people of Minnesota," said Durenberger.

Democrats, too, have heightened their rhetoric in regard Coleman. "We have always said Norm Coleman deserved his day in court -- he got two months," said Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chair Bob Menendez (N.J.). "It is now time to move on, and let Senator-elect Al Franken get to work for the people of Minnesota."

The end-game in this situation remains unclear. With Cornyn and Senate Republicans continuing to stand by Coleman's legal challenge, it's hard to see them dropping their plan to filibuster any attempt to seat Franken before the state Supreme Court rules on the case.

The question is whether Democrats are content to wait it out or push the envelope based on the belief that Minnesota public opinion believes that Franken has, for all intents and purposes, won the election.

By Chris Cillizza  |  April 8, 2009; 12:49 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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I'm a Democrat, but also like the job Norm Coleman has done reresenting us people from Minnesota. I also believe that every vote that wasn't counted should be counted. This is the United States Of America where every persons vote is to be counted. I believe in 1 vote per every person who filled out a ballet be it at the poles or by legit absentee ballet.

Posted by: Wartmanaj | April 9, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: charlie448 | April 9, 2009 7:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm really disappointed in the GOP -- they have not yet found a way to blame the whole Minnesota fiasco on Obama.

C'mon, GOP! You're slacking off, here!

Posted by: WaitingForGodot | April 9, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

Having been properly chastened for my impatience earlier, let me just say that I hope that at this time next year, we're at least somewhat closer to resolution than we are today.

Posted by: novamatt | April 9, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

This looks bad for the Republican Party. They are the first to run to Attorneys and they don't want anyone else to have one. The Republicans have to send rumors in emails filled with lies to win or tie up a state that cost the tax payers millions of dollars, they are not worried about the economy just their own pocket book. Coleman has enough legal problems already and he should step down soon. The Republicans cannot stand it that they don't run things anymore so they are coming up with crazy bills in the states they have won in that don't help anyone except make it harder on the people.

Posted by: bedazzled | April 9, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Dateline: Minneapolis August 15, 2014

Both camps declared victory as the latest batch of disputed ballots increased Al Franken's lead in the 2008 senatorial election to 40,832. The Coleman camp again hailed the court's decision to allow the count and accused the Franken camp of wanting to short circuit the results before every ballot had been re-counted. The court next will hear the latest Coleman challenge based on the discovery of a previously undiscovered county in the far north of the state only recently accessible due to global warming. An initial census of the county's voting age population is 40,833 filling the Coleman camp once again with optimism that Franken's lead is only temporary.

The Franken team was represented by the campaign chairman of the Franken 2014 effort which rolled out the slogan "Don't blame me, I wasn't there." The spokeman said, "Frankly, we're pleased that this thing has dragged on so our candidate is tainted by the worst depression in our country's history, the so called 'Greater than the Great Depression.' Our re-election campaign is based on the extraordinary patience and good humor shown by our candidate, Al Franken, who, we feel, deserves a second chance to have his first chance to serve in the senate."

The Coleman campaign chair had harsh words for their opponent, stating that Franken had accomplished nothing in the last six years, had sponsored no legislation and was absent for every roll call vote. Coleman called Franken's record "flimsy and without substance and was the most do-nothing senator in the history of the United States, finally eclipsing my own scant record" and noted the success of his own employment initiative, keeping the unemployment rate of Minnesota lawyers among the lowest in the nation.

Polls show their 2014 rematch a 50-50 split.

Posted by: optimyst | April 9, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse get to Supreme Court and hope the 4 Ideologues can convince Kennedy to tip the political scales.
Bush v. Gore Redux. 5-4 vote, and Coleman steals it.

Posted by: ULTRON5 | April 9, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Gosh, and I thought Franken was the joker.

Posted by: nodebris | April 9, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

It is you dems who love going to the courts all of the time when you don't get your way at the polls. Just a taste of your own medicine. Hopefully Coleman can keep this tied up in the courts until its election time again.

Posted by: vbhoomes | April 9, 2009 7:23 AM | Report abuse

So this joke will continue and continue. First we expect the Court to rule "In the near future." Than Coleman will appeal to the Min. Supreme Court. They will put it on their 'list of things to do." They will turn Coleman down, probably next spring or so. Coleman will than appeal to the US Supreme Court who will take another year. Than, considering past actions, they may just find some convoluted reason to sit Coleman. I do not trust them not to come up with something like: "We need to go back to November 5th." What we need is for the Democratically controlled Congress is to grow some balls and seat Franken. They have the power to do that. Otherwise, with a Republican governor in charge inb Minnesota this thing will never end. Coleman and the Governor will conspire to keep this thing going and going and going......

Posted by: Opa2 | April 9, 2009 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 8, 2009 7:59 PM | Report abuse

For those Fix readers who get excited when The Fix posts the inside baseball stories about campaign workers, here's a MN Post piece on Sharon Schriock, Franken's campaign manager, & her role in preparing for the recount before the election was through:

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 8, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

If the Democratic Congress and President can't do it with what they already have.. well.. they don't deserve it.

Posted by: newbeeboy | April 8, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Note to Coleman:Please concede at this point. There is no chance of you winning. You're destroying any chance you might have of running for future office.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | April 8, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | April 8, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how the voters in Minnesota like the idea of the Senator from Texas keeping their kitchen stew pot stirred?

Posted by: Spectator | April 8, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

sore looser

Posted by: gmail | April 8, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Coleman has no chance of victory. But he's effectively had a vote for the a crucial session of congress by denying Franken a vote to override filibusters. Franken might have won the election, but the office is in Coleman's control as long as this circus goes on.

Posted by: theamazingjex | April 8, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Norm needs to switch his meds. We are pretty sure he has been taking DRAGRA:

""DRAGRA is an oral argument for electoral dysfunction (ED). It helps most politicians with ED take a lot of time to disprove their elections. That means they aren't able to overturn elections, just drag things out.""

But may need to switch to daily use DELAYUS

""All around the world, politicians with electile dysfunction (ED) have taken 36-month DELAYUS as needed.

Today sore losers can be ready with another option, DELAYUS for daily news—a clinically proven low dose buzz that is talked every day. Talk to your spin doctor to see if a DELAYUS option is right for you.""

FIGHT, FIGHT on NORM, complete and total political impotence is a Supreme Court appeal away!!


Posted by: anokaflash | April 8, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

What the Coleman team says they're fighting for is some judicial activism on the part of the MN Supreme Court, whom would have to change the rules of the game in order to swing the election back to Coleman. Knowing that's an extreme long shot, its hard to conclude that their real goals are anything other than delaying the swearing-in of Sen-elect Franken.

The former Senator is surely aware that his actions are not helping his future political career in Minnesota; it seems that he has chosen to follow the instructions of his party leadership - likely with the hope of ensuring future employment of some kind.

Posted by: bsimon1 | April 8, 2009 1:52 PM | Report abuse

It's meant to undermine Franken's credibility. They will contest every move once he is seated, they will whine incessantly about how he didn't really win, he cheated.' He cheated, mom, he cheated.'

They will throw unhinged tantrums if his is the deciding vote on any issue. They will claim their rights are being trod upon, violated. Get ready for a great deal of unpleasantness.

It's all so childishly predictable.

I think Democrats have to just steel themselves and say, okay, that's how you want it -- every close vote means dragging it out like this. Fight them from being seated every time. Take it to the Supreme Court if necessary.

Posted by: drindl | April 8, 2009 1:36 PM | Report abuse

State elections for national office should not be certified unless the margin of victory is at least one percent. Anything less, a run-off election should be mandated by law, if that does not violate state's rights.




Posted by: scrivener50 | April 8, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

Coleman should concede at this point. There is no chance of him winning. He's destroying any chance he might have had of running for future office. (And if Gore had done this in 2000, Cornyn would have been screaming his head off!!)

Posted by: RickJ | April 8, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are just dragging this out to deprive Obama of a reliable vote. They know they have no chance of winning.

Posted by: thecorinthian | April 8, 2009 12:55 PM | Report abuse

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