January 2nd, 2009
01:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Senate GOP prepared to fight early Franken seat

 Democratic challenger Al Franken has a slight lead over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in the race for the Minnesota Senate seat.
Democratic challenger Al Franken has a slight lead over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in the race for the Minnesota Senate seat.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) – Sen. John Cornyn, the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, is weighing in on Minnesota's close and still unresolved U.S. Senate race, saying Friday that no one should be seated until a winner is made official by both the Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie and Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

Currently, Democratic challenger Al Franken holds a slight lead of about 50 votes over Republican incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman, but this number does not reflect what could be more than a thousand improperly rejected absentee ballots still to be tallied, which would sway results.

Cornyn, a Republican from the state of Texas, said a filibuster may be in order if Franken were seated before an official certificate is signed by Ritchie and Pawlenty.

"There will be no way that people on our side of the aisle will agree to seat any senator provisionally or otherwise," he told reporters on a conference call.

The new Congress will be sworn in Jan. 6, and it's unlikely a certificate would be signed by then. Speculation over what could happen in the interim included the possibility that the Democratically-controlled body would provisionally seat Franken if he remains in the lead.

"It is very clear that the people of Minnesota and the courts in Minnesota should make the decision about who won the Minnesota Senate election and not political leaders in Washington, DC."

The Coleman campaign is hoping the Minnesota Supreme Court will intervene over the issue of the improperly rejected absentee ballots because they say there is no uniform standard for local officials and the campaigns to review and count them.

It's also possible for an election contest to be filed after the Secretary of State certifies the results. The Coleman campaign has hinted at the increasing likelihood that they'd again go to the high court, which could mean a resolution would still be weeks away.

The secretary of states office is scheduled to tally improperly rejected absentee ballots this weekend and could have a result as early as Monday, though the meaning of any such result without a governor's signature remains to be seen.

Full story

soundoff (145 Responses)
  1. BUSH BEGONE AND NOW 75% OF AMERICA AGREES, FINALLY!

    Some oone needs to introduce Cornyn to Harry Reid. Reid is the one that sets the agenda for the Senate.

    Exactly how does Cornyn think the Franken seating issue will make it to the floor for filibustering?

    @Chris I concur on both points.

    January 2, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Donovan

    I don't care WHO wins as long as ALL votes are counted ONCE. No vote suppression by the republicans, no double votes for the Democrats. Coleman's fight to suppress votes just shows you he's thinks only of himself, not the will of his constituents. If he REALLY cared about his own people, he'd want every vote counted ... no matter who that vote was for! Fight for DEMOCRACY and "We, the people" not your own interests!

    January 2, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. MERBS

    I'm all for Al Franken instead of the creep who has been shown to be a crook. Give me a break. The republican sympathizers are so pathetic. Why doesn't your guy step down like a man? Oh yeah - "manhood" is defined in the old white guy's party as waging war - cuz they're erection-less for the last twenty years. SO-O-O sad.

    January 2, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. jaye

    Just have a revote and get it over with.

    January 2, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. reggie

    Franken is such a joke, and I'm a democrat. BUT, the is no way that he is capable of being a US Senator. After all, the guy is a comedian -and not even a very good one.

    January 2, 2009 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  6. Don't Get Punked

    Go to the mat on this one Democrats. You gave in on Florida in 2000 and see where that got us as a country? Nobody is giving the Donkey a medal for honor as a result of pulling out of the fight.

    You need to show the country, and the Republicans, that you are not a bunch of wussies. That will help Barack get re-elected in 2012.

    January 2, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. mv

    c'mon republicains losers, give up

    January 2, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. Melissa B ~ California

    The reason Al Franken has been making mostly political jokes in his career as a comedian is because he actually cares about politics. He is not seeking political office as a joke as many of his denouncers suggest. Coleman is just a sore loser who could care less about the will of people who some may have filled out their ballot with some minor technical error. Hinting he may sue on the highest court proves he does not care about actual voters–only properly filled out ballots.

    January 2, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  9. rob

    Good for Cornyn, if the votes are not made official it would be a disgrace for Franken to be seated. If he wins legally then more power to him and let the Minn people live with the lable of electing clowns to high office.

    January 2, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  10. Adam from Ohio

    So, before the recount was begun, Smilin' Norm Coleman demanded that Franken concede. The quick count was good enough for him–the fact that thousands and thousands of ballots still needed to be counted (whether they were absentee ballots improperly excluded, or ballots with stray marks that the machines refused to count, or whatever) did not matter. The election had happened, and we needed to know a winner, pronto!!

    Now that the votes have been recounted, thousands of ballots improperly left out the first time have been counted, and the will of the people is clear, Smilin' Norm has now decided that his loss wasn't as fun as his win, and that Minnesota doesn't need full representation in the Senate right away–and, now, the games are beginning!

    Folks, mandatory recounts are conducted in the case of extremely tight margins to ensure that improperly rejected ballots haven't affected the outcome. Think about it: If 20,000 votes separates the winner from the loser, but 5,000 ballots were rejected for extraneous marks, the rejections can't possibly change the outcome of the election. But if 2,000 votes separates the winner from the loser and 5,000 ballots were rejected, those rejections could possibly change the outcome. So it is the DUTY of a democracy to ensure that those rejected ballots were rejected for good reason–and, if not, to count them. The will of the people must be heard.

    Smilin' Norm gets this, but he's so desperate to win that his belief in democracy is taking a backseat.

    January 2, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  11. Mary Alfaro

    Mr. and Mrs. Clinton are extraordinaire.

    January 2, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. jj

    good luck minnesota

    January 2, 2009 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  13. Task

    This whole recount looks like a farce anyway. Take a look at the challenged ballots at the Minnesota Star Tribune and you'll see what BS his lead is. If you take out the bogus decisions made on these contested ballots you'd see Norm Coleman with a solid lead of over 200 votes.

    January 2, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  14. GOP

    John Cornyn and the racist GOP will be done in 2009, the Raceicans will never amount to getting any minority ethic to save them As long as the GOP continue with it's superficial outreach to minority without substance they will go the way of he wiggs and the southern democrats of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Colin Powell was right withn 19 years or sooner the GOP is doomed. From TX, AZ, NM, CO, NV, CA will become majority hispanic stats within the next 10 years. America is about to become majority ethnic, the GOP will move to the middle east to start their new home in the apartheid state of israel or saudi arabia!

    January 2, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Republican Cry Babies

    Get ready for a whole lot of obstructionism by Republicans this year. They couldn't do the peoples work so they're going to keep the Dems from doing it too.

    January 2, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  16. mwj

    This is exactly why the Supreme Court had to step into the 2000 presidential election and end those fraudulent recounts. Every time Democrats lose a close election they cry “recount” and end up finding a way to steal a legitimate post from the Republicans. They tried desperately to do that in Bush v. Gore and the Court stopped them. Hopefully the same will happen this time.

    January 2, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. GOP

    John Cornyn and the racist GOP will be done in 2009, the Raceicans will never amount to getting any minority ethic to save them As long as the GOP continue with it's superficial outreach to minority without substance they will go the way of he wiggs and the southern democrats of the 60s, 70s and 80s. Colin Powell was right withn 19 years or sooner the GOP is doomed. From TX, AZ, NM, CO, NV, CA will become majority hispanic stats within the next 10 years. America is about to become majority ethnic, the GOP will move to the middle east to start their new home in the apartheid state of israel or saudi arabia!

    January 2, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. alvino

    Norm (call me Gary) Coleman has lost, and his cronies will use all of the 'Different Strokes' to try to save him. At the end of the day, Al will be the Minnesota senator, giving Norm more time to fight his corruption charges.

    January 2, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. Archie H.

    There are enough screwballs in Washington . Keep Franken out !

    January 2, 2009 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. John in Ohio

    God 2008 was a messy year for elections.

    January 2, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. Ken in NC

    They need to toss a coin. HEADS for one and TAILS for the other and be done with it.

    January 2, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. iamright

    This is really beginning to stink, their have been 2 in the news who are being refused to be seated, so does that mean Michigan and Illinois will not have to pay taxes. No taxation with out representation. Its for the states to wage the legal battles over their senators. Not for the federal government to refuse to seat someone they don’t like for what ever reason. If this continues what would be the point in giving governors power to seat or in franking case even having an election, if the senate will override the people.

    January 2, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  23. alvino

    50 votes at this late stage is just like a 50,000 vote win. Give it up Norm. Can you say , "Senator Franken?"

    January 2, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. Mia

    The GOP is just delaying the inevitable...and wasting taxpayer money in the process. Unless Coleman has some hardcore proof that he can present to the Supreme Court that is not skewed through the eye of the ideological lens, the Minnesota State Supreme Court is not going to overturn it either. Senator Coleman couldn't convince enough people to vote for him over Franken–he is not going to convince enough people on the Court that his campaign should override the votes of a few million.

    Had Coleman been doing a good job, this wouldn't even be a tight race.

    January 2, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. Denise

    Is this man not under investigation? And he wants to fight this election cause he is loosing? For God's sake, get the MN race over with!!!! This is worse than FL in '00.

    January 2, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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