WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Al Franken says a resolution is near in his marathon battle against Norm Coleman for the contested Senate seat from Minnesota.
Franken made his comments after meeting with Senate Democrats at their weekly luncheon on Capitol Hill. "What I did today was fill them in,” Franken told reporters he left his meeting with Senate Democrats. There's pretty much a light at the end of the tunnel so I kind of told them what was going to happen.”
His comments came 18 weeks after election day. For those of you keeping count, that's 126 days with no resolution.
Coleman, the Republican freshman senator from Minnesota, led Franken by 215 votes after Election Day, out of nearly three million ballots cast. That tiny margin triggered an automatic recount. Franken, the progressive radio host, comedian, and former Saturday Night Live star, led Coleman by 225 votes following the two month long recount.
Coleman contested the recount results, and a three-judge panel is currently considering which disputed ballots may be added to the recount. If Coleman loses the ruling, he could appeal to Minnesota's state Supreme Court.
(Updated with Coleman camp reaction after the jump)
Franken attempted but failed to legally force Minnesota's Republican Governor and Democratic Secretary of State to certify him as the winner before the verdict in the recount lawsuit.
Franken today ruled out being seated until the pending court challenges are resolved, something Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has also indicated in the past few weeks.
An attempt by Senate Democrats to seat Franken without an election certificate and before all legal proceedings were settled would spark partisan fight, since Franken, if he won, would become the 59th member of the Democrats' coalition in a chamber that requires 60 votes for a filibuster-proof majority.
“I think based on the recount, a bipartisan recount done fairly, people think that he (Franken) will prevail in the end but they also believe the Minnesota process should be allowed to be completed," Minnesota's lone senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, told CNN when asked if her party was preparing for the possibility that Franken may lose the legal battle.
Klobuchar added that "there was no discussion about doing anything except that, and that’s allowing the Minnesota process to finish up.”
Update: Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan fired back in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "Al Franken doesn't know the difference between a light in the tunnel and the freight train that is coming right at him. The freight train is coming, and it's Senator Norm Coleman being re-elected to the United States Senate," he said. "And, if the contest court results are fair and legal, that freight train is going straight to D.C. with Senator Norm Coleman returning to continue his work for the people of Minnesota to get our economy back on track and creating jobs for the people of our state."
Franken is a disgrace.
"Light at the end of the tunnel".... and there is a man with a pitch-fork sporting some red horns waiting for Al Franken.
Send Max Headroom back to the Bronx, NY. Coleman is a hypocrite, just listen to what he said about Franken when he was up at first by 200+ votes. Coleman has no honor, no integrity.
Enough obstruction from Gops.
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Losing sucks, eh phoenix?
The disgrace is that Coleman won't withdraw his challenge and let Minnesota's elected Senator get to work.
Franken is Sen. Franken and don't forget it!
60 votes folks, just 60 votes till the GOP becomes irrelevant. That's why this contest is so important. Just one more vote.
People here in MN are SO tired of Norm Coleman and his wasting of our state's resources. The re-count was done meticulously and in a bi-partisan manner. Coleman's continued challenge is extremely hypocritical since he stated that Franken should just concede on election night "for the good of the people of the state of MN", yet Coleman himself continues to drag things out wasting the taxpayers money and tying up the court system delaying other cases. Many perceive that Coleman does not really think he will win, but is simply trying to delay Franken being seated. A selfish motive from the republican party of PARTY FIRST.
Just like in the 2000 Florida debacle, this is just too close for our election process to call. A special election re-vote is justified. Had we done this in 2000, we wouldn't have had 8 years of GWB.
I guess if you have to cheat your way into the Senate Seat- What a piece of work a very bad piece.
The Republicans have been spitefully drawing this out, knowing they can't win, simply to deny the Democrats one Senator voting on important issues. I'm glad to see it is finally going to be resolved.
Uh....he was never really a STAR on SNL, more of a role player...
Hopefully the Republicans will accept this Court's lawful decision from this very transparent, very open, very bi-partisan Contest suit.
Since it has been clearly evident from the beginning that Franken was the victor, Mr Coleman should pay back what he cost the electorate for his failed bid to win by lawsuit. Isn't that what a man of such high morals should do? Or is he just a blowhard?
OMG, this is still going on...
Keep going Norm. Fight to thr bitter end.
The White-Light? Your dead...
Franken is the joke at the beginning of the tunnel.
May the best man win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Can we please have our Senator? Coleman, knock it off...you're only coming off as selfish.
The light at the end of the tunnel...its a train!!
Mn deserves Fraken. He's in the same mold as the pro westler they elected one other time. Both have brains only slightly larger than a chickens.
I've said all along – re-vote --------–
This is better than chinese water torture.Squirm and cry republicans,I love it.