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Senator Franken?

Entertainer Al Franken (D) now leads Sen. Norm Coleman (R) for the first time since election day in the never-ending recount process that is the Minnesota Senate race.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Franken now leads Coleman by 281 votes (as of 3:45 p.m. eastern time). So, should we start readying Washington for the arrival of Senator Franken?

Maybe but, then again, maybe not.

The fact that Franken is now in the lead is, from a purely symbolic point of view, great news for Democrats. The longer he remained behind -- and he has been behind Coleman for the better part of the last six weeks -- the more conventional wisdom began to cement behind the idea that, when all was said and done, Coleman would be the winner.

With Franken now ahead -- even if only for a brief time -- national attention will return to Minnesota and the "Did Franken pull an upset" storyline will re-form.

From a purely practical point of view, however, it's EXTREMELY difficult to tell where this race is headed.

The state's five member canvassing board is currently in the midst of sorting through the ballots challenged by each side; that is, trying to determine voter intent for ballots that were improperly or not clearly marked on election day.

The challenges being assessed right now are of ballots that a local election official initially determined were for Franken -- a ruling that the Coleman campaign challenged. Given that, it's not surprising that Franken is picking up votes.

The Coleman campaign, seeking to defuse the importance of Franken's lead, released a memo from communications director Mark Drake this morning that predicted the Democrat would surge today. Added Drake: "While varying headlines and a flurry of different numbers will continue, we encourage everyone to just hang on until the process is finished. When it is finished, Norm Coleman will still lead, and we believe, be re-elected to the United States Senate."

Even when the canvassing board finishes ruling on the challenged ballots, the race will not be over, however.

As Paul Kane writes in today's Post, the next major issue will be over roughly 1,000 absentee ballots that were initially ruled invalid but now, as a result of a ruling yesterday by the state's Supreme Court, will likely be counted -- in toto or at least in part -- in the coming weeks.

Franken's campaign immediately declare the ruling on the inclusion of wrongfully-disqualified absentee ballots a major victory for their campaign, noting that Coleman's legal team had fought the idea since the beginning.

Unbowed, Coleman's team also declared victory -- pointing out that the Court ruled that the two campaigns would have to settle on set of criteria by which to include and exclude the contested ballots, a uniformity that the Republican's campaign insisted was what they wanted all along.

Who will win? The short answer is no one knows. Democrats have grown increasingly optimistic in recent days -- particularly after the state Supreme Court ruling on absentees -- but acknowledge privately that it's almost impossible to determine how the race shakes out.

There remains a real possibility that a winner has still not been declared when Congress reconvenes on Jan. 5 -- a scenario that could leave the seat to be declared temporarily vacant.

Things just keep getting curiouser and curiouser in Minnesota.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 19, 2008; 1:50 PM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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Comments

I love these responses that accuse the Democrats of cheating by asking for recounts.

"How dare they contest the results of a very close election? That should only occur when the person with the slight lead is a Democrat!"

Posted by: GJonahJameson | December 22, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

"How can you morons be gloating over a potential Al Franken victory? You should be ashamed that your party ran a D-List celebrity instead of a real candidate.

Posted by: omega_man "

Yeah, and it looks like the D-List celebrity is going to win! LOLOLOLOL!

RIP GOP. Can't say they don't richly deserve it though.

Remember when they told us that questioning the rational about going to war with Iraq was un-American and that we all hated the troops for questioning our brave president, even though the UN said Iraq was compliant with inspections and that they needed more time? Or when they told us that protesting torture was tantamount to treason? Remember the stonewalling, the utter contempt for the American people (and the Constitution!!!) displayed by this administration during each and every press conference? Remember when Bolten was appointed as UN representative simply because he was a Bush crony and vehemently hated the UN? Remember when they told us they weren't wiretapping everyone, and then it turned out that is the very definition of a "roving" wiretap? For christsakes remember the Patriot Act?? When ANYONE could be declared an "enemy combatant" and detained indeffinately without charges? Remember when we left Afghanistan in a power-vaccum and the drug lords returned to their former positions of power almost instantaenously? Remember that guy who attacked us on 9/11 and still remains at large? Remember when Rove and Libby leaked classified material to the press in order to discredit their discreditors? Remember when they told us carbon emissions are A-OK? Remember when the future of the Republican party was passed to a beauty-queen college drop-out (or rather the next closest thing) who couldn't pass a 6th grade english class and campaigned on a platform of family values and compassionate conservatism, only to be revealed as a petty, backstabbing, irresponsible, insecure hypocrit?

Theirs is a situation that warrants schadenfreude, not pity. OWN IT GOP! YOU are responsible for this mess and all the contempt you've garnered, please do the country a favor and never ever express your ill-concieved ideals in the voting booth again.

My only question is, at what point did they lose all touch with reality to become so narcissitic and delusional?

Posted by: Terrorfied | December 22, 2008 2:05 AM | Report abuse

"This is certainly more than anyone wants to know about politics in "The Small Wonder.""

haha, not at all. Thanks.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 20, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Conservative republicans should be asking themselves why they have had a couple of seats in such close races in states they consider safe!!

Posted by: knjincvc | December 20, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

Cry pukelicans, cry.

The tears of racists, cowards, chickenhawks, corporate scamsters, and bible-thumping bigots make me happy.
~

Posted by: ifthethunderdontgetya | December 20, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"Interestingly, I am young, conservative, from Rhode Island, and several times more educated than yourself.

But hey, maybe I'm the exception."

weeklysentinel

Someone claiming to be "more educated" should at least do so in a grammatically correct sentence.

Posted by: pab9c | December 20, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

"In Delaware the Republican Party was so decimated in the 2008 election that our state senate Republican caucus was reduced to five members."

msadowski01

-------------------------------------------

"How many state senators are there total?"

DDAWD

-------------------------------------------

Actually there are only 21 seats total so perhaps what I said should be put into context. Before the election the Republicans had 8 seats. There were 3 open Republican seats and they lost all three. In the Delaware State House they lost a third of their seats, many of them were still held by incumbents. Their gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee lost by about three to one. Even in 2006 the Republicans were teetering financially as they literally had to temporarily lay off the entire Delaware State Republican paid staff after the election. I expect the same thing will happen this year as well, only for a longer period.

The rout of the Delaware Republicans in the statehouse this year was greater than in any other state on a proportional basis. No doubt it had something to do with the fact that local son Joe Biden was on the Democratic presidential ticket and he is quite popular with independents as well as Democrats. But there was also a surge (some have called it a "stampede") in Democratic registrations this year because of the contentious Democratic gubernatorial primary, and nobody expected the Republican candidate to be competitive.

The Republicans still hold the at-large US House seat. Mike Castle is an ex-governor and is quite popular so he is likely to keep it until he wants to retire. But when that happens I expect it to flip to the Democrats, as the Republicans have no new heavyweights rising up the ranks.

The president of my neighborhood association is one of the few ardent Republicans in my community. He is looking very very depressed this holiday season, but he is a nice fellow so I try not to rub it in. This is certainly more than anyone wants to know about politics in "The Small Wonder."

Posted by: msadowski01 | December 20, 2008 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Coleman won his Senate seat only after liberal icon Paul Wellstone's tragic plane crash right before the 2002 election. Wonder what Wellstone would be saying if he could see what's happening in MN now?

Posted by: DoctorB | December 20, 2008 8:38 AM | Report abuse

@ newjersey_lawyer

He didn't say anything about Jews. So what are you going on about? Not all Israelis are Jews, you know. And all Jews are certainly not Israelis. But you're saying they're inseparable. Is that right? So it's not Israelis who bomb and gas Gaza indiscriminately, it's Jews? So it wasn't Israelis that committed genocide against Lebanon, it was Jews?

Sounds like you're the Jew hater.

Posted by: omega_man | December 20, 2008 4:54 AM | Report abuse

the Isrealis are not going to give up this seat.... period.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | December 19, 2008 2:20 PM
__

You're a Jew hater and an idiot. It's spelled Israelis.

Posted by: newjersey_lawyer | December 20, 2008 2:42 AM | Report abuse

"In Delaware the Republican Party was so decimated in the 2008 election that our state senate Republican caucus was reduced to five members."

How many state senators are there total?

Posted by: DDAWD | December 20, 2008 12:29 AM | Report abuse

"Can anyone cite an example in which Republicans were able to use the recount process to reverse a Democratic lead in the initial count?"

Part of it is that Democrats tend to be more inept in filling out ballots. As a result, they tend to get more ballots added back in that the machine missed when done in a hand recount due to "voter intent" statutes.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 20, 2008 12:25 AM | Report abuse

In addition to the aforementioned missing envelope, it should also be mentioned that it was the precinct, not the canvassing board, that decided to report the election night total.

-----

this is how Dems recount: count over here, not over there. If I'm wrong, count a different way. when I pull ahead, stop counting.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 20, 2008 12:24 AM | Report abuse

The recount process is just a continuation of the campaign. The actual examination of the questioned ballots is honest. The panel doing this is made up of the Minnesota secretary of state, several Minnesota Supreme Court Justices, and other judges.

The real fight was over deciding what ballots were to be included in the recount process and Franken has won at every turn in this process. Coleman may have lost the election during the adjustments made to the final count in which his lead shrunk from 754 votes to 215. This put Franken in range to reverse the outcome through the recount process.

I hate to say this but Democrats are just better at playing the recount game than Republicans are and it is a game. I can think of three times during my voting lifetime that Democrats were able to reverse a Republican lead in the initial count throught the recount process. They are the 1974 New Hampshire Senate race, the 1984 Indiana Eighth Congressional District race, and the 2004 Washington state gubernatorial election. You can probably add this contest in Minnesota to the list.

Can anyone cite an example in which Republicans were able to use the recount process to reverse a Democratic lead in the initial count? Good luck.

Posted by: danielhancock | December 19, 2008 11:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah- an actual progressive among the Dems- someone to work with Sanders and Feingold in the tradition of Wellstone- lets hope he gets in.
Leon

Posted by: nycLeon | December 19, 2008 11:38 PM | Report abuse

"Pre-Election the democrats have a strategy of fraud using surrogates like ACORN to sign up voters to vote dozens of times."

Fail. ACORN workers were aiming to make some extra cash. Do you think they would have registered "Mickey Mouse" if they intended anyone to actually vote?

"Post election if its close we've got the same old every vote must be counted garbage they used in 2000."

You object to every vote being counted?

"Obama certainly didn't want the votes of MI and FL counted until he had locked up the nomination."

Uh, both camps agreed to exclude the results of the Michigan and Florida primaries because they violated the rules agreed to beforehand; Hillary was the one who wanted to change the rules.

"In MN Coleman one the initial vote on election day. Then he won the recount vote following the rules that were in effect on election day. But of course the democrats don't want to accept that. They want to change the rules and recount. Then if they don't win they want to change the rules again and recount again."

Coleman won the votes that were counted on election day. Then they moved on to count the ones the machine didn't read properly, or otherwise were rejected. No rules were changed. Fail.

Posted by: SeanC1 | December 19, 2008 10:37 PM | Report abuse

In Delaware the Republican Party was so decimated in the 2008 election that our state senate Republican caucus was reduced to five members. In other words they can all drive to the Delaware statehouse in a large American sedan.

Is one party rule by Democrats good? Of course it is. Delaware has done very well economically relative to the rest of the nation during this decade. Is politics competitive with one party rule? Of course it is. The primary election for the Governor of Delaware this cycle resulted in a non-establishment pick, namely Markell.

If the rest of the South had any sense it would join the country in rejecting the Republican Party. Democracy would survive, and our country would prosper.

Posted by: msadowski01 | December 19, 2008 9:54 PM | Report abuse

I just performed a search on his website homepage. Strange; I can't find the words GOP or Republican anywhere. I wonder why? I guess it's just not fashionable to call yourself a Republican anymore.

Posted by: DougH1 | December 19, 2008 9:31 PM | Report abuse

In ordinary life, just as in science, every measurement has a certain amount of uncertainty. Scientists use error bars. They don't say that "The distance from the Earth to the Moon is exactly 238,856 miles." Nobody knows what it is *exactly.* Instead, they say something like "The distance from the Earth to the Moon is 239,000 miles, plus-or-minus a few."

This perpetual counting and recounting of election returns is a pointless farce. No matter how many hand-counts are conducted, no matter how carefully the challenged ballots are scrutinized, no matter how far up in the judicial system appeals are carried, it will never be possible to reach a conclusive result that everyone can agree on. The outcome, for all practical purposes, was a tie.

But this isn't the Super Bowl. There doesn't *have* to be a single winner. Instead, send them both to Washington. Let them share a single salary, a single staff, a single office, and give them a single vote. On some issues they will agree. For example, maybe they will both support legislation that helps Minnesota farmers. On other issues they'll disagree. When they agree, their vote will be counted. When they don't agree, they will be recorded as voting "present."

Solomon would solved the problem a long time ago.

Posted by: donnolo | December 19, 2008 9:24 PM | Report abuse

Another GOP moron bites the dust. (hopefully) Again, I hoping for the Harvard educated one (Franken) not the poser.

Posted by: DougH1 | December 19, 2008 9:21 PM | Report abuse

jimverdolini: For God's sake. Whenever a republican wins any election by under a percent or so, as soon as the margin of victory becomes clear, the republican should concede. Once the 'recount' process begins the result is preordained. The dems will 'find', 'discover' , 'create' or fabricate however many 'votes' are required to win. This has been clear since the Washington Governors race. If we go through the 'recount' process we simply legitimize the fraud. Why waste the time and money on a process so flawed? Just concede,"

Does this mean we can go back in time and award the 2000 election to Al Gore based on a concession from George W. Bush?

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2008 8:56 PM | Report abuse

"Why does ANYONE care about the GOP anymore.?

The GOP is a regional party, based in the South, consisting largely

of lesser educated old white men.

Who cares!"

bobnsri

-------------------------------------------

"Interestingly, I am young, conservative, from Rhode Island, and several times more educated than yourself.

But hey, maybe I'm the exception."

weeklysentinel

-------------------------------------------

You are. Reed beat Tingle in the 2008 Senate race in Rhode Island by three to one in nearly every demographic. You must be very lonely.


Posted by: msadowski01 | December 19, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

In case anybody forgot, here's Senator Coleman getting his head handed to him for having made a bunch of unsupported allegations against a Member of Parliament in the 'Oil for Food' scandal. The good part begins about 6 minutes in...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3VHAco8y18

Posted by: Samson151 | December 19, 2008 8:42 PM | Report abuse

For God's sake. Whenever a republican wins any election by under a percent or so, as soon as the margin of victory becomes clear, the republican should concede. Once the 'recount' process begins the result is preordained. The dems will 'find', 'discover' , 'create' or fabricate however many 'votes' are required to win. This has been clear since the Washington Governors race. If we go through the 'recount' process we simply legitimize the fraud. Why waste the time and money on a process so flawed? Just concede, I know, you know and the dems know the end result before the first vote is recounted.

Posted by: jimverdolini | December 19, 2008 8:41 PM | Report abuse

"Interestingly, I am young, conservative, from Rhode Island, and several times more educated than yourself.

But hey, maybe I'm the exception."

Pretty much. Especially that Rhode Island part.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 19, 2008 8:36 PM | Report abuse

"Why does ANYONE care about the GOP anymore.?

The GOP is a regional party, based in the South, consisting largely

of lesser educated old white men.

Who cares!"

Interestingly, I am young, conservative, from Rhode Island, and several times more educated than yourself.

But hey, maybe I'm the exception.

Posted by: weeklysentinel | December 19, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

How can you morons be gloating over a potential Al Franken victory? You should be ashamed that your party ran a D-List celebrity instead of a real candidate.

Posted by: omega_man | December 19, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Dear valwayne & all other Franken deniers.... rinse and repeat.

Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken, Senator Franken,

Posted by: jiggscasey_2000 | December 19, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Another GOP joke leaves government. Join the massive pile of GOP casualties. They did this to themselves. They were a joke as leaders. They had it all, the Presidency (moron), the Senate, the House, and the majority on the Supreme Court and its Chief Justice and they blew it. Inflation, deficits, more debt, breach of security on 9/11/2001, and an unnecessary war.

Run a non-moron for President. Run someone with a bona fide education and some personal accomplishments not attributable to family privilege and you might have a chance.

Short of that, the GOP is dangerous to our country and now everyone knows it.

Posted by: DougH1 | December 19, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Senator Frankenstein

Posted by: kenpasadena | December 19, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Buh bye, Norm. Say, show a little class and step down early giving Al a bit of seniority to get the plum committee appointments. Just like you asked Dean Barkley to when you won last time.

Posted by: FredArbogast | December 19, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

Another joker in government

Posted by: ahartnack | December 19, 2008 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Franken, like Obama graduated from Harvard. Coleman's demographic, like the rest of the GOP is shrinking. Old, uneducated white men are becoming a minority. Young, more educated white men and women are choosing the more qualified candidates over the ideologues.

The GOP's task is to now convince people with real brains that they can govern. Given their track record, GOOD LUCK!!!

Posted by: DougH1 | December 19, 2008 6:41 PM | Report abuse

THE FIX IS IN.

Posted by: independentlyso | December 19, 2008 6:36 PM | Report abuse

Republicans had better take a hard look at the electoral fraud being employed by the democrats and come up with a tough strategy to fight it. Pre-Election the democrats have a strategy of fraud using surrogates like ACORN to sign up voters to vote dozens of times. Post election if its close we've got the same old every vote must be counted garbage they used in 2000. Of course, every vote must be counted only when they are behind. Obama certainly didn't want the votes of MI and FL counted until he had locked up the nomination. In MN Coleman one the initial vote on election day. Then he won the recount vote following the rules that were in effect on election day. But of course the democrats don't want to accept that. They want to change the rules and recount. Then if they don't win they want to change the rules again and recount again. Republicans had better wise up, and get ready to fight like hell. With Chicago style corruptino moving into the White House you can count on even worse Chicago style voter fraud!

Posted by: valwayne | December 19, 2008 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Why does ANYONE care about the GOP anymore.?

The GOP is a regional party, based in the South, consisting largely

of lesser educated old white men.

Who cares!

Posted by: bobnsri | December 19, 2008 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Ah good old SNL. Now that's funny. I like funny. Franken can be very funny. I like Obama, too...but he's not so funny. Oh well, can't have everything. Say, this comment posting stuff is kinda addictive. Why haven't I tried this before? Hey everybody, dig me! Over here, it's me!

Posted by: hjs7g | December 19, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

This was a no-brainer from the beginning. It was obvious the undercount was in Democratic districts. Had Coleman not presented so many challenges, he would have lost the lead halfway through the recount.

He knew it was over a long time ago. This was just a bunch of posturing. Take it like a man.

Posted by: DougH1 | December 19, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Jane Curtin: Well, the 1970's are in their final month, and with some thoughts on this decade and the one we're about to enter, here's Weekend Update's Social Sciences Editor Al Franken.

Al Franken: Thank you, Jane. Well, the "me" decade is almost over, and good riddance, and far as I'm concerned. The 70's were simply 10 years of people thinking of nothing but themselves. No wonder we were unable to get together and solve any of the many serious problems facing our nation. Oh sure, some people did do some positive things in the 70's - like jogging - but always for the wrong reasons, for their own selfish, personal benefit. Well, I believe the 80's are gonna have to be different. I think that people are going to stop thinking about themselves, and start thinking about me, Al Franken. That's right. I believe we're entering what I like to call the Al Franken Decade. Oh, for me, Al Franken, the 80's will be pretty much the same as the 70's. I'll still be thinking of me, Al Franken. But for you, you'll be thinking more about how things affect me, Al Franken. When you see a news report, you'll be thinking, "I wonder what Al Franken thinks about this thing?", "I wonder how this inflation thing is hurting Al Franken?" And you women will be thinking, "What can I wear that will please Al Franken?", or "What can I not wear?" You know, I know a lot of you out there are thinking, "Why Al Franken?" Well, because I thought of it, and I'm on TV, so I've already gotten the jump on you. So, I say let's leave behind the fragmented, selfish 70's, and go into the 80's with a unity and purpose. That's what I think. I'm Al Franken. Jane?

Jane Curtin: Thank you, Al. That's the news. Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.

Posted by: msadowski01 | December 19, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

"so are we recounting, or not, or selecting to recount based on whether it favors the lying liar?

this is how Dems recount: count over here, not over there. If I'm wrong, count a different way. when I pull ahead, stop counting."

Not that facts matter to you, but those ballots unquestionably exist; they were sealed in Bag 2 of 5, and while Bags 1 & 3-5 are present, 2 cannot be located. Hence, this is the best way to do it.

Posted by: SeanC1 | December 19, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

"For chrissake the people in MN are f'n morons for it even being this close. Stewart Smally for crying out load."

this is the state that elected Jessie "the Body" Ventura governor, after all.

Posted by: kreuz_missile | December 19, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

It's all so much fun just to watch the Republicans on this site fall all over themselves lashing out. This is what the incompetence of the last eight years has brought, was it worth it??

Posted by: kreuz_missile | December 19, 2008 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Blah, blah, blah...Jews run everything...blah, blah, blah...Liberals are a bunch of pansies...blah, blah, blah, Republicans suck!

Yeah, that is easier than actually thinking. Thanks! I feel better now.

Posted by: hjs7g | December 19, 2008 5:34 PM | Report abuse

For chrissake the people in MN are f'n morons for it even being this close. Stewart Smally for crying out load. The guy that stole from the Gloria Wise charity in New York to try and keep the failing Air America afloat (which he failed to do)? This guy can't keep a LIBERAL radio station afloat in NEW YORK and you want him as a senator? The guy that failed to pay taxes until he was busted? The guy that tackled a student for asking Howard Dean some tough questions? What's next, the Pillsbury dough boy...Yoda? Here's a big FU Minnesota. I hope you get him as your senator. Heck, I hear William Jefferson is out of a job. Maybe he should run next. Oh yeah...your football team sucks too!

Posted by: ryukyu | December 19, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe you people are still arguing about this. There is no winner in this race using the popular vote count. And it has nothing to do with race, religion, or party affiliation. But I suppose bigoted statements and partisan slander make good fodder for these comment lines. Don't any smart, sensable, thoughtful people post to these things with legitimate comments? Guess not.

Posted by: hjs7g | December 19, 2008 5:20 PM | Report abuse

"king of zouk is conveniently forgetting the Florida debacle

>>>>

which was all about Libs trying for a selective recount. as always."

Forget Florida, Coleman is pulling the selective recount right here. And it's not working. He's about to become yet another out-of-work Republican.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 19, 2008 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Minn as one of the states targeted by ACORN in their massive voter fraud efforts that helped the marxist drug addict steal the election, so it is not a surprise that these criminal efforts are having an effect on the Senate race.

Is a perverted sense, one must admit that franken, if the ACORN fraud prevails, could become the best symbol of the d-crat party: a pathetic, non-funny clown. He'll also provide a better meaning to their jackass symbol.

Posted by: ImpeachNOW | December 19, 2008 5:12 PM | Report abuse

king of zouk is conveniently forgetting the Florida debacle

>>>>

which was all about Libs trying for a selective recount. as always.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 19, 2008 5:11 PM | Report abuse

what we don't need is another brain dead liberal.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 19, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The Miieapolis Red Star Tribune will do whatever it can to get Franken elected.

I'd rather he (and Coleman) were atheists, as everyone should be, but it's Al's tax and spend "mentality" that worries me.

Posted by: AbolhassanBaniSadr | December 19, 2008 4:47 PM | Report abuse

king of zouk is conveniently forgetting the Florida debacle. Counter-examples must be ignored.

Posted by: dbitt | December 19, 2008 4:37 PM | Report abuse

savedgirl says "we do not need another Jew in Washington."

This is from Norm Coleman's bio on his Senate website: "Growing up in a large Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York, he has often said that most of his preparation for a life in politics came from sitting around the huge Coleman family kitchen table."

That must drive a bigoted anti-American phony-Christian hypocrite like you CRAZY, huh savedgirl?

Posted by: wilder5121 | December 19, 2008 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Franken seems so much cleaner and wholesome than Bushie Coleman. Glad he'll be the next MN Senator in the US Senate. Al Franken (D-MN) ... has a nice ring to it!

Posted by: buzziea | December 19, 2008 4:23 PM | Report abuse

"we do not need another Jew in Washington. "

savedgirl
------------------------------------------

"Wow, it's great to see what friends we have in Jesus. Christians are so supportive of we Hebrews."

bierbelly1

------------------------------------------

What's really funny about this exchange is that both Coleman and Franken are jews.

Posted by: msadowski01 | December 19, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Right, and Republicans just let all the votes get counted. Someone might want to tell Coleman that all of his vote challenges are just not the Republican thing to do.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 19, 2008 4:07 PM | Report abuse

"we do not need another Jew in Washington.

Posted by: SavedGirl | December 19, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, pig, but Coleman is also Jewish, so there will be no change in the number of Jews in Washington regardless of who wins.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 19, 2008 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Senator Franken? No, Senator Franken.

Evidently the Coleman campaign is reading the writing on the wall because they just sued the Minniesota Canvassing Board over the double counting of duplicate ballots.

There are probably legitimate examples of double counting. But there is no reason to believe that correcting this would favor Coleman. In fact there are good reasons to believe it would favor Franken as up until now Franken's campaign has been the only one attempting to challenge such potential double counts. Furthermore Coleman's lead attorney Tony Trimble admonished the Franken campaign for doing just that.

So why is Coleman's campaign suddenly so interested in double ballots? Because the election is about to be certified for Franken, and they will do almost anything to prevent that.

Posted by: msadowski01 | December 19, 2008 4:02 PM | Report abuse

"we do not need another Jew in Washington. "

savedgirl
------------------------------------------

Wow, it's great to see what friends we have in Jesus. Christians are so supportive of we Hebrews.

Posted by: bierbelly1 | December 19, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

How come Chris Cilizza is blogging about this old story when Sarah Palin's daughter's baby daddy mama just got indicted on drug charges? I gather that Chris is reasonably well acquainted with Governor Palin, whom he considers a likable public figure with a big future in politics. What effect will Ms. Johnston's indictment have on all those hopeful scenarios for a Republican comeback, with Palin, Bobby Jindal, Saxby Chambliss, and Norm Coleman leading the charge?

Posted by: SeattleVoter | December 19, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

This left the precinct in quandry regarding which results to report - election night or recount. They went with the election night totals, which favored Franken.

>>>>>>>>>>>

so are we recounting, or not, or selecting to recount based on whether it favors the lying liar?

this is how Dems recount: count over here, not over there. If I'm wrong, count a different way. when I pull ahead, stop counting.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 19, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

who ever is in charge in Minnesota should pull a Catherine Harris and declare Al the winner. While it won't balance what happened in Florida, is will at least give the air of balancing the scales....

Posted by: lappercad | December 19, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

It's even more complicated than Chris makes it out to be.

First of all, a Minneapolis precinct in Dinkeytown (University of Minnesota campus area) lost 130 ballots. This left the precinct in quandry regarding which results to report - election night or recount. They went with the election night totals, which favored Franken. Since the ballots have been lost, there's no paper evidence of those votes. That will be part of the lawsuit of Coleman loses the recount.

The number of rejected absentee ballots isn't known. That's because the canvassing committee couldn't legally force the precincts to reexamine their absentee ballots to determine which were improperly rejected. As I understand it, some precincts did not investigate their absentee ballots under legal advice. The number could be anywhere from 1,000 to 1,600. How they are dealth with will be part of the resulting lawsuit after the recount, either way.

The Coleman campaign is insisting that as many as 150 ballots have been counted twice. This is because some copies were made of ballots that had been folded. The copy was run through the machine, but both ballots may be been counted. This issue will survive the recount, even though the canvassing committee ruled it's responsibility is to determine voter intent, not discuss possible double counts. Again, fodder for the lawsuit.

Also, keep in mind that the original total of challenged ballots was over 6,000. Both candidates withdrew challenges to whittle that total to around 1,000. If either side is within striking distance after the recount, the campagin will attempt to reintroduce some of the withdrawn challenges.

Finally, there are three piles of recounted ballots: Franken, Coleman, and other. The "other" pile is going to be larger than the vote margin. Some of these may be revisited in the lawsuit after the recount.

Franken's ahead by 279 as of 2:42 CST. But this thing is far from over.

Posted by: JohninMpls | December 19, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

You know Ann Coulter is going crazy. Al Franken was basically a pundit like her and now he's the next US senator while she is a broken-jawed FOX News piraha rehashing some pithy remark about the President's middle name...

Posted by: Corey_NY | December 19, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

we do not need another Jew in Washington.

Posted by: SavedGirl | December 19, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

wait until they count the votes in Sandy Berger's pants.

Kurt Mudgeon

Posted by: Kurtmudgeon | December 19, 2008 3:38 PM | Report abuse

considering you rightwingnuts still blame bill clinton

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

No we blame dodd and Frank.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 19, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

coming to books a million soon:

cheating cheaters and the Republican voters they cheat.

I think there is the possibility of Franken winning and becoming the most intellectual of all the Libs. note - not a high bar.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 19, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

And Hillary's friends make fun of Caroline Kennedy for having a weak resume to be a Senator...

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 19, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

"As hard as they'll try, 4 years from now they won't be able to blame the right for their own miserable failures."

that's pretty funny, numbnutz, considering you rightwingnuts still blame bill clinton for most of your own miserable failures.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 19, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

We have a perfect storm brewing as the left has almost total control of the country. As hard as they'll try, 4 years from now they won't be able to blame the right for their own miserable failures. If the fate of our country wasn't so serious, watching the left flailing in the wind would be absolutely hilarious.

Posted by: AkCoyote | December 19, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

When Coleman was perceived to be ahead, no one in the press used terms like "for now" or "at least for today" in describing his lead. It is clear that with or without the absentee ballots, this thing is just about over. It would be nice if the press would stop genuflecting to the corporate right even as they are on they way out the door.

Posted by: nysteveo2 | December 19, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I think at this point the only real losers here are the people of Minnesota. This process has taken far too long and promises to deliver a puppet who will rubber stamp whatever his party bosses want for the next 6 years. Indeed, I'd be surprised if Harry Reid's lips aren't moving whenever Franken gets up to speak.

As for Franken, even if the count turns against him again (depending on how many more "lost" ballots his people find...or how many more lawsuits they file) he'll be able to take his experiences on the road and try to restart his failed comedy act or write yet another book I won't read. It's "win-win" either way.

Posted by: hdhale | December 19, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Minnesota is now competing with Washington state for the most brain-dead voters in the nation - Washington has Jim McDermott, while Minnesota voted in Jesse Ventura (remarkable) and apparently, now Franken.

Maybe it's the lack of winter sun / heat, but whatever is going on in Minnesota does not reflect well on that state's being a real player.

Posted by: coolguy1 | December 19, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

All so Stuart F***ing Smalley can play Senator. Can't we at least get Senator Dana Carvey? In fact, I DEMAND SENATOR DANA CARVEY!

Posted by: omega_man | December 19, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

To "angriestdogintheworld," You, sir, are an idiot. First of all, you spell Israelis like this. Second of all, both Franken and Coleman are members of the tribe. From an Israeli perspective, it's a no-lose situation. But, they could care less. They have their own problems. So, just go on being angry, you fool.

Posted by: rob15 | December 19, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Franken's lead is now posted at 285 - at 3:oo EST. The Minneapoli StarTribune has a counter on its homepage with updates.

Posted by: goodwater1 | December 19, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Come now, my Democrat friends, so excited at the prospect of a Senator Franken. Ask yourselves this question, will a Senator Al Franken end up being a net plus or minus to the Democratic party?

Imagine, if you will, what would happen to the GOP if a Bill O' Reilly or Rush Limbaugh were to gain a seat? It would be a field day for you wouldn't it?

So too may Mr. Franken be for the other side. Not many listened to AirAmerica, but plenty of tapes surely exist...

Posted by: Longtermview | December 19, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

"Your column implys that Franken has just now taken the lead. However, this is only because so many more of Coleman's challenges were bad to begin with. All along those tracking the challenges thought that Franken had a small lead. But they thought it was as low as 10 to 20. However these results seem to indicate that a much higher percentage of Colemans challenges were baseless then even they thought. Maybe we are just going through the obviously bad challenges and that is why Frankens numbers are going up so quickly. But even if more serious challenges come up later it is hard to imagine Frankens lead going down during the rest of this recount or the recounting of invalidly rejected absente votes to come."

Part of it might come down to how the challenges are ruled. With a race this close, that might make the difference. Fivethirtyeight.com gave one example on a Coleman ballot with "Brett Favre" written in for President and a Franken ballot with "Lizard People" written in. The Coleman ballot was kept but the Franken one was tossed. The reasoning was that "Brett Favre" was definitely not an identifying mark, but that "Lizard People" might be the name of an actual person. Pretty dubious, right?

Posted by: DDAWD | December 19, 2008 3:06 PM | Report abuse

The whole process they are using at this point to determine a winner is wasteful and useless! The margin between these canidates is far less than the margin of error in the vote collection mechanism. At this point, flip a coin and call it good...and quit wasting our time and money! And Minnesota is supposedly one of the best at this...Uffda!

Posted by: hjs7g | December 19, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

The seat will be vacant if no one is declared the winner or if Franken is so declared.

The libs will do with this what the Reps did with Bush, keep counting until they win.

Franken will be a colossal disappointment to the Seante and to the State of MN.

Posted by: AbolhassanBaniSadr | December 19, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Your column implys that Franken has just now taken the lead. However, this is only because so many more of Coleman's challenges were bad to begin with. All along those tracking the challenges thought that Franken had a small lead. But they thought it was as low as 10 to 20. However these results seem to indicate that a much higher percentage of Colemans challenges were baseless then even they thought. Maybe we are just going through the obviously bad challenges and that is why Frankens numbers are going up so quickly. But even if more serious challenges come up later it is hard to imagine Frankens lead going down during the rest of this recount or the recounting of invalidly rejected absente votes to come.

Posted by: leftbehind81 | December 19, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

GO AL GO!!!!! WOO HOO!!! How does that feel Republicans? You like that? LOL

WE WANT AL!!!
WE WANT AL!!!
WE WANT AL!!!

Posted by: Hillary08 | December 19, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

If you sidestep the PR games, the situation has been heading to this point the entire time. Track Nate Silver's analyses over time: Coleman's team has been gaming the system (with a large number of unrealistic challenges) in order to look "in the lead", while the basic numbers and statistics have always given Franken a slight lead. Now that the fuzzy challenges are being blown away, Coleman's artificial lead has gone away, and we are left with the big question of absentee ballots. It is likely, according to Silver's statistical study, that these will favor Franken as well.

Posted by: nealjking | December 19, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

king of zouk,

After the 2000 presidential election that's a pretty rich accusation.

Neither side wants to lose this seat.

Posted by: dhalbrook | December 19, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

"the Isrealis are not going to give up this seat.... period."

Interesting that the "Isrealis" would concentrate their efforts on a senate seat from a state with one of the lowest percentage of Jews in the US.

You'd think they'd pick a state where their efforts wouldn't look so obvious.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 19, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I'm feeling Minnesota (obscure movie reference). LOL

"Vote for me, Al Franken." He may not have said it, but enough people did it.

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | December 19, 2008 2:51 PM | Report abuse

He's good enough, he's smart enough... and darn it, people like him!

Powder-blue cable-knit sweaters to become all the rage on Capitol Hill.

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 19, 2008 2:50 PM | Report abuse


Make it so, Minnesota.

Posted by: GaiasChild | December 19, 2008 2:47 PM | Report abuse

"SENATOR FRANKEN!"
I can't wait to see Bill O'Reilly say it. He must be pissed off :)

Posted by: sgtpepper23 | December 19, 2008 2:28 PM | Report abuse

the cheating libs will keep counting until they find a way to declare they are ahead. then they will freeze that result. same as they do in every recheat they work.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | December 19, 2008 2:24 PM | Report abuse

the Isrealis are not going to give up this seat.... period.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | December 19, 2008 2:20 PM | Report abuse

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