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Norm For Gov?

Could former Sen. Norm Coleman turn around and run for governor? Jim Mone -- AP

In the wake of Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty's (R) decision not to seek a third term and considering the dearth of obvious Republican replacements for him, some operatives have floated the idea that former senator Norm Coleman might transition into the governor's race if he winds up losing his legal challenges in the Senate contest.

Could it happen? Sure. Will it happen? Almost certainly not.

Asked about the possibility of a run for governor, Coleman spokesman Tom Erickson said simply: "I hate to sound like a broken record, but we're planning on having him return to the Senate."

Coleman has run for governor before -- in 1998 when he finished behind Jesse Ventura (I) but ahead of Skip Humphrey (D). It was in the wake of that race that the White House personally recruited Coleman to challenge Sen. Paul Wellstone (D) in 2002, pushing aside none other than Pawlenty in the process. (Politics is SUCH a small world.)

But, the nastiness of Coleman's 2008 race against Democrat Al Franken and the protracted -- seven months and counting -- legal battle over the election results, which currently show Franken ahead by 312 votes, have done significant damage to the former incumbent's standing in the eyes of the state's voters.

A poll done for the Minneapolis Star Tribune in late April crystallized the decline of Coleman's popularity. Just 38 percent of those polled had a favorable opinion of him while 55 percent saw him in an unfavorable light, an almost total reversal from the 53 percent favorable/33 percent unfavorable score Coleman had roughly a year earlier in another Strib poll.

Aside from the poll numbers, Coleman might also have a hard time pivoting from seven months of legal challenges in the Senate race to a gubernatorial campaign; it could well create a sort of whiplash effect for voters that is far from ideal for a candidate.

In retrospect, Coleman could well have positioned himself to be the odds-on favorite for the gubernatorial nomination if he had stepped aside in early January after a state canvassing board certified a 225-vote Franken margin.

But, Coleman chose to pursue a far different course -- using every legal tool at his disposal to contest the result. If he doesn't win his challenge before the Minnesota Supreme Court, he may well look back at the path he chose with regret as it almost certainly eliminated the possibility of a run for governor in 2010.

By Chris Cillizza  |  June 3, 2009; 4:14 PM ET
Categories:  Governors , Senate  
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thats pretty good epusy,you should run for some kind of public office with rettoric like that about coleman.that was pretty good.untrue,so you will make a great democrat,but that was funny. not as much funny as the people who actually voted for frankin,the comedian,and not even a good comedian. voting for people like waxman,murtha,franks,dodd,rangel,and too many others to mention,is what is screwing this country up.

Posted by: silusdogood | June 5, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Phantom ballots are just that - phantom ballots or non-existing ballots. 133 Phantom ballots have diluted the true count which Phantom ballots are nonexistent and cannot obviously be counted in a physical manual hand count in accordance to the 2008 Minnesota law and where 4,900 ballots similarly situated to others already counted have not been allowed.

Posted by: kwoods2 | June 5, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse


You're displaying your ignorance again.

Norm Coleman will not be running for any office anytime soon because he will be facing FBI investigations into the following:

1. Not reporting to the Senate that Nasser Kazeminy funneled $75,000 to Norm through his wife's sham job.

2. Not reporting to the Senate that Nasser Kazeminy bought tens of thousands of dollars worth of designer clothing for Norm.

3. His sweetheart apartment deal.

4. His landlord's corporation owns the house in which Norm rented and paid his utility bills for a year.

Norm's drawing out his MN-SEN race has little to do with it.

For anyone who would like to get the real scoop on MN politics, please surf over to MN Progressive Project,

Posted by: e_pusey | June 5, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

kwoods: reading past all the synthetic outrage, what the hell are "phantom ballots?"

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 4, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

mattadamsdietmanager1014 ,

What Chris Cillizza showed without intending to, by his article, is that Coleman has NOTHING to lose by taking his case to the Federal Courts once the Minnesota Supreme Court likely inevitably rubber stamps the violations of Minnesota and federal law that have occurred in this recount process.

It will be political suicide for Minnesota election laws, Minnesota voter rights and Minnesota candidate rights if Norm Coleman does not take this case to the federal courts as Minnesota law and Minnesota voter rights will have been abridged, by this legal train wreck, with no way to heal the process.

Posted by: kwoods2 | June 4, 2009 2:40 PM | Report abuse

As an active Minnesota Democrat, we can only hope that Coleman runs for Governor. The media will be filled in the coming year with stories about his wife's trial for laundering money being funneled from a Coleman supporter to Coleman through his wife's employer, so his negatives will be even higher than they are right now. This fact, added to his record of supporting George W. Bush over 90% of the time during his tenure will help sink him. Run Norm Run!

Posted by: trl618 | June 4, 2009 2:37 PM | Report abuse

I forgot to add Bill O'reilly ( who instigated a murder of a Doctor), FoxNews, Operation Rescue and YES Norm Coleman is hurting the Republicans. It will be political suicide for the Republicans if this case goes national and the Supreme Court takes it. They will never learn and continue to stay in the minority for a long long...............time after this mess.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | June 4, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

mattadamsdietmanager1014 ,
Norm Coleman has NOTHING to lose by taking his case to the Federal Courts. He can only win or gain back the seat cheated away from him and cheated away partly by the counting of phantom ballots.
I can understand why there are posters, on this forum, that do not want Coleman to take a federal lawsuit because once the federal courts overturn the courts in this state, the rest of the nation will not be laughing at our state any longer, they will be thinking, "What IS going on in Minnesota's Courts?"
By the federal courts overturning this recount inclusive of these phantom ballots will mean that the federal judges overturned four (4) judges on the Canvassing Board - a number of judges in Ramsey County, three (3) judges on the Election Challenge Committee, and possibly five (5) judges in the Minnesota Supreme Court.

What is happening is Franken's lawyers are starting to make Minnesota look like Macon County Georgia in its behavior.

Posted by: kwoods2 | June 4, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

to JakeD:
My point is that these current Repubicans like Rush, Cheney, Palin, Coleman, Bush, Pawlenty and many more are making the party look bad and they are not appealing to main stream america today. That is why the GOP will be sinking for a long time maybe into election 2020. The Republicans won't be back until more respected and moderate Republicans emerge like former Governor of California Pete Wilson, Colin Powel, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Charlie Christ, Joe Scharburge (morning Joe) President Ronald Reagan and many more to mention a few, who appeal to all the people emerges out of the closet to be one of the new leaders of the party in order for the GOP party to come back as a majority. Even McCain was a good choice however, his choice of Sarah Palin as a running mate destroyed his presidential chances against President Obama. Micheal Steele would be OK if he were not so far to the right. Republicans really need to review and change the over all ideology about what America is today in order for them to win elections in the future.
Yes President Obama will be reelected and Yes the Democrats will seat Al Franken as the new Senator from Minnesota. Sadly, their is basically nothing the Republicans can do about it at this point and Norm Coleman should have saw that months ago like Chris Cillizza was saying. Had he conceded in January he would have had a better chance at running for Governor of Minnesota. Now that chance is gone.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | June 4, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

kwoods2- I'm having trouble making sense of your rants, but can't help but notice you didn't address my point about the right to vote vs. the privilege to vote absentee.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 4, 2009 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Furthermore, the 2008 Minnesota election law does not allow the counting of Phantom ballots in a physical manual hand count.

Posted by: kwoods2 | June 4, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

If you choose to quote Page who is presiding on the case even though he should have recused himself due to the fact that he selected the biased three (3) judge panel, please quote Disenfranchisement himself as his statement to the Minneapolis Star Tribune last year (although it is not surprising that a football player would equate 4,900 legitimate voters' ballots to a speeding ticket seeing that the three (3) judge panel, he appointed, equated the 4,900 legitimate voters' ballots to felon scum ballots). Now to quote Page:

Here is Page's statement arguing to take Minnesota citizens' rights of electing their judiciary and turning the selection, of Minnesota judiciary, over to a politically-charged machine or committee:

"Would we stand for a minute the notion that the officials in charge of that game had an interest in the outcome? And yet we stand here with the potential of having some of the most fundamental decisions, most important decisions, about how we go forward as a society decided by people who have a stated, voiced interest in the outcome." ...

Posted by: kwoods2 | June 4, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

kwoods2 writes
"The unconstitutional law and case law decisions, by the three (3) judge panel, harms elections in the near future in Minnesota. Therefore, their decisions must be reversed to make voter law and voter rights "whole" both now and in the future."

Hogwash. The courts have upheld the law which differentiates between voting in person and absentee voting. The distinction is that voting is a right - and this right stops at voting in person. Absentee voting is a privilege - in order to enjoy the privilege of voting absentee, voters are required to meet a set of requirements designed to ensure the validity of their vote. The requirements are fairly simple: having another voter from your district witness that you are casting your ballot; signing the envelope in which you put your ballot; proving you're registered to vote in the district for which you're voting absentee. Senator Coleman is arguing that because some election judges did not strictly apply these rules to all the absentee ballots counted thus far, then we must also sacrifice these standards for all uncounted absentee ballots. That amounts to arguing that because others exceed the speed limit, you should be allowed to speed as well. That is not how the law works; while others might get away with breaking the law, you are still obliged to follow it.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 4, 2009 12:32 PM | Report abuse

Future elections, in Minnesota, will be harmed for years to come if this political quagmire continues, which quagmire was created by the Election Canvassing Board's actions, proliferated by the three (3) judge panel, where elections will be controlled, not by the electorate, but by the political powerhouses.

There is much more at stake here in Coleman taking this to the Federal Courts than just Coleman's candidacy. This case needs to be taken to the Federal Courts to ensure the political foreplay, by the Canvassing Board, the three (3) judge panel and likely inevitably the MNSC cannot degredate our elections for the foreseeable future.

The unconstitutional law and case law decisions, by the three (3) judge panel, harms elections in the near future in Minnesota. Therefore, their decisions must be reversed to make voter law and voter rights "whole" both now and in the future.

As for Coleman, he has rights to be treated equally and votes cast for him (in similar situations) to be counted. Coleman also has due process rights to ensure that an egregious failure of legal discipline, by the three (3) judge panel to ignore state law with the 133 Phantom ballots, does not remain.

I am ashamed that the three (3) judge panel could not do what any judge (with civil rights concerns) would have done in their stead in making both voter rights "whole" and Coleman's rights "whole". However, the panel could not put away its political biases to provide proper ruling.

Posted by: kwoods2 | June 4, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Seriously - do you people have anything better to do than write these posts? I love reading the Washington Post and laugh my butt off when I see all the right wing AND left wing nutty comments on here.

You are all delusional and this is all politics.

If Coleman was a Democrat, all of the Democrats and liberals would be arguing for him to keep on fighting until every vote is counted and we would be hearing the phrase "disenfranchised voters" over and over.

If Franken were a Republican, all of the Republicans and conservatives would be railing for Coleman to stop holding the seat up. (Also - if Frankeen were a Republican, every liberal and womans group out there would be nailing him for his jokes about rape.)

This so stupid. It is a game of chess. The only question is who won. Count the damn votes and get it over with - the rest of us in the country could care less.

No mattter which guy you get, Minn. loses.

In case you were wondering, I am a disinterested "independent".

Posted by: BostonPaul | June 4, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

When you count Phantom ballots, any candidate can get more votes than his/her opponent.

Posted by: kwoods2 | June 4, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

Dognabbit: there is little controversy around Coleman. He's a guy who lost his re-election and he's not dealing with it like an adult. All but the 19-percenters know he's finished and that he's in the wrong. Franken got more votes.

Palin on the other hand is a vicious harpy and a darling of the teabaggers, an utterly repellant scumbag to everyone else. It's amazing that such an oven bulb of an intellect would be even mentioned in the same sentence with the executive branch, and everyone who wants the GOP to remain on the margins wants her to run.

Lot of fun watching the trolls trying to cleanse her record. What newspapers do you read, Sarah? All of them? Name one. Blank.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 4, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse


Post a story about Norm Coleman and get barely any comments.

Post a story about Sarah Palin (previous post) and the comments number in the hundreds.

Posted by: dognabbit | June 4, 2009 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Coleman must know that he will lose this thing. Even one of the judges during oral arguments told his lawyer that he had no case! It's all about keeping the Democrats from having 60 votes. The irony is that the Democrats have not needed 60 votes, there have been no critical votes in the Senate for some time where the Republicans could hold their 40 votes together. If it ever comes to that, or looks like it may come to that, the Democrats will just seat Franken and be done with it. Right now it's not worth the hassle republicans would make over that.

Posted by: Opa2 | June 4, 2009 1:42 AM | Report abuse

Huh? Coleman for Guv? Is the man delusional?

Coleman has destroyed any chance of getting elected to statewide office in Minn. Can you imagine the voters of Minnesota or any state supporting a guy who when 7 months after the election he won't conceed? In tough times will voters want to risk not having a Governor for 7 months? Not to mention that he is still under FBI investigation.

Keep dreamin', Normie!

Posted by: DrainYou | June 4, 2009 1:41 AM | Report abuse

With Obama of the Hussein middle name talking to the Muslim world tomorrow, it should be a fun day around here as the trolls do their Dying Swan ballet again. We'll hear a lot about "apologizing," about bowing to ol' Abdullah, probably some betrayal talk for good measure. Should be fun, it's always a good day when they're all riled into apoplexy.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 4, 2009 1:27 AM | Report abuse

BB: yeah, seeing sugarplums. Seriously, I read that Coleman prays with the scrolls, so he's pretty orthodox. I think his reluctance to admit it's over is just crazy, like he's hoping for some sort of divided-sea miracle.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 4, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

The only reason I can figure for this guy wasting so much time and money and respect is that someone made him a very nice promise. I don't think he cares about governor.

Wait see what job he gets when this is all over.

Posted by: nodebris | June 4, 2009 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Good Lord, Chrisfox. Are you having visions now?


Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | June 3, 2009 11:58 PM | Report abuse

Has any other state had a candidate who held out as long Coleman has? Who's money is paying for his protacted appeals process? Mr. Coleman is foolish and surely must know that he has lost any goodwill his fellow Mn may have held for him. He is appearing more like a child who stubbornly won't admit a mistake, something like President Bush did about every one of his failed policies.
I think a person with that kind of obstinance is dangerous and a lousy administrator. The good citizens of Mn deserve better then this.

Posted by: papafritz57 | June 3, 2009 11:41 PM | Report abuse

I know Coleman is Jewish but isn't he from some super-orthodox sect within Judaism? I read that he prays every morning with a bunch of scrolls under his arm.

I mean, not everyone who believes in God is nutty about it but the religious Repyublican politicos seem especially nutty about it. I wonder if Coleman things God is telling him to keep his hand in? That might explain why he's so bloody whacky about it when anyone who "did the math" would have dropped out a long time ago.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 3, 2009 10:20 PM | Report abuse

...knowin' when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em... would be true irony..if he gets neither office..

Posted by: newbeeboy | June 3, 2009 8:15 PM | Report abuse


Are you a Republican, yes or no?!

Posted by: JakeD | June 3, 2009 6:26 PM | Report abuse

This is so sad Chris and your right. I know most moderate Republicans are telling this moron to concede. But Norm is not listening as usual. When this ruling comes down he only has himself and the Republican right wing base to blame.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | June 3, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

He should not have dragged out the Senate race the way has is currently doing. He's done.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | June 3, 2009 6:16 PM | Report abuse

After the way he has handled and draged.........................out this Senate race he's done right along with Pawlenty........................ His only saving grace would be if he has enough dignity (which he don't) to concede the Minnesota Senate ace and end this embarrassment to the Republicans it might work but i think it way too late.

Posted by: mattadamsdietmanager1014 | June 3, 2009 6:13 PM | Report abuse

It's like there's some great hand moving the pieces around the board... some great stupid hand.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 3, 2009 5:33 PM | Report abuse

I never understand the electorate's memory.. sometimes they remember like elephants, other times like the average goldfish.. either (never forget, or have a total memory time of 6 seconds)...

Posted by: newbeeboy | June 3, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

DI-A-BOLICAL! I'm gobsmacked.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | June 3, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

During my time in Minnesota, Coleman always struck me as being both a very shrewd politician and a very weak adminstrator/ leader. While in St. Paul, he was a well-known but somewhat unaccomplished Democratic mayor. As this article pointed out, he switched parties to run for governor as a Republican and was unexpectedly trounced by Jesse Ventura. When he subsequently became a U.S. Senator, he proceeded to fade into the background. He was essentially a nice man who got nothing substantive accomplished for the state. Thus, he made no enemies but had very few ardent supporters. In this latest protracted fight to maintain his Senate seat, he has done more harm to his career than good and appear to be defying the plurality of the voters' wishes in the process. I wonder if he could even win the Republican gubernatorial nomination at this point.

Posted by: Jay20 | June 3, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

No comment.

Posted by: JakeD | June 3, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

Coleman, good for you for your appeal of this wrongful setback which can easily be transformed into a win.

Posted by: kwoods2 | June 3, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Send this clown packing, he's done.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | June 3, 2009 4:59 PM | Report abuse

Nah, Coleman's toast in MN. He doubled-down on the senate seat and forfeited his chance to succeed Pawlenty.

Posted by: jasperanselm | June 3, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

"he may well look back at the path he chose with regret as it almost certainly eliminated the possibility of a run for governor in 2010."

Perhaps. But he perhaps knows that he isn't extremely popular in the first place. His only statewide victory came a week after the funeral for his opponent, which should be a pretty telling indicator - coupled with a loss to Franken and the prior loss to Ventura - that perhaps Minnesotans don't dig Norm Coleman all that much.

Posted by: bsimon1 | June 3, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

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