March 13th, 2009
11:45 AM ET
9 years ago

Minnesota Senate fight nears end

The Minnesota Senate fight could be nearing its end.

The Minnesota Senate fight could be nearing its end.

(CNN) - 129 days and counting.

That’s how long it’s been since Election Day 2008, and still no resolution in the last remaining undecided Congressional contest.

But today we could be moving a step closer to closure. Closing arguments are underway in a courthouse in St. Paul, Minnesota for the dispute between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken over that state’s U.S. Senate seat. Lawyers for both candidates are summing up their cases and then it will fall to a three judge panel to decide a verdict.

Coleman, the freshman senator who’s seeking a second term, led Franken after Election Day by 215 votes out of nearly three million cast in the contest. That tiny margin triggered an automatic recount, which took nearly two months to complete. Franken, the progressive radio talk show host, comedian, and former cast member of “Saturday Night Live,” led by 225 votes after the statewide recount results were announced at the beginning of this year.

Coleman contested the results and took the case to court. The key issue in the proceedings is whether some rejected absentee ballots should have been included in the recount.

The verdict by the three judge panel may not mean the end to this long running saga. If Coleman loses the ruling, he could appeal to the Minnesota State Supreme Court. That could keep the seat vacant for quite some time to come.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has ruled out trying to seat Franken without certification by Minnesota's Republican governor and Democratic Secretary of State. An attempt by Senate Democrats to seat Franken without an election certificate and before all legal proceedings were settled would spark a 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.

Filed under: Al Franken • Norm Coleman
soundoff (121 Responses)
  1. Xaivier

    GO AL GO!!!!

    Franken is going to make a wonderful senator.

    March 13, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. ron

    This woman never had any mojo. She's a spoiled brat with a privileged background.

    March 13, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  3. Jennifer

    This is just getting silly. This is costing the tax payers a fortune. Just have a run off election and be done with this foolishness. Perhaps if Minnesota can't manage to finish an election in a timely fashion, they should do without until the next election. If people are going to act like children, they should be treated as such.

    March 13, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. MBFLA

    Say goodbye Norm and welcome to your Senate seat Al!

    March 13, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  5. New Day

    hahaha Kathy. 🙂 I am glad Franken won but it's kinda harsh to say Coleman stole the prior election unless he killed the other guy. 😀

    March 13, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Simmy

    The tangled web woven by the Coleman machine will unravel soon.

    March 13, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |

    You better home Franken looses. We can not have another Democrate vote bringing them closer to 60. No watchdogs no help for us the tax payers.. More closed dooors, higher taxes, debt and loss of freedom is on it s way.

    March 13, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. arivera

    Go Al, kick some of the hatred out of those republicans.

    March 13, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  9. April

    I forgot about this.

    March 13, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. Colt

    Just what DC needs, another joker in the Senate. Why is it that the Senate doesn't have any term limits when the president can only serve 2 terms?? Why is it that only the Senate can vote on their OWN term limits?? Just curious. Vote 'em all out and lets get centrist instead of Loony Liberal or Right-wing nut job.

    March 13, 2009 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  11. jonny

    probably would have been cheaper and easier just to hold another election. at least another election would probably decidedly declare a winner. winning by only a couple hundred votes is not much of a win....that is way too close to count!

    March 13, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  12. Manny

    Yaaaay, it's the Al Franken decade !

    March 13, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Kevin in Ohio

    If Franken wins, it will prove that groups like ACORN really can win elections by encouraging people to vote often.

    March 13, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. California Girl

    I feel sad reading these comments. Things are as divisive as ever. Neither side seems willing to give up the hate talk, and neither side is willing to compromise with the other. What is the matter with this country? What have we become?

    March 13, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  15. JonDie

    Franken won...end of story. Coleman, the incumbent got far less than 50% of the votes. Most Minnesotans voted for change, not six more years of Bush.

    March 13, 2009 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. chenna benna

    Can we end this already and swear in Frankin!!!

    March 13, 2009 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. Dittohead

    Nice to see that the dems on this page are quick to proclaim the hack franken the winner, after a controverial recount, and ignore that coleman won on election night. you arrogance will be your down fall.

    even if fraken wins, he will show himself to a fool and partisan piece of garbage to everyone and will lose in 6 years.

    i wish him nothing but the worst of luck.

    Norm, fight the power.

    March 13, 2009 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. H


    March 13, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  19. Beverly, NYC

    I can't take all this good news:
    Madoff goes to jail
    Coulter may have to sell the next book from her car trunk
    Recount ends, Senate welcomes Franken the 60th vote!!

    March 13, 2009 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  20. Mari

    Wow.......... this has been an incredibly LONG election season!

    This is what would have happened in 2000 had Al Gore not graciously agreed to not fight the "suspicious" Florida results.

    Coleman needs to concede and show some grace.

    March 13, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  21. dh

    >>Regardless of who "wins" this one, there should be term limits on congress! - Tim from Coronado

    100% agree Tim!

    An incumebent senator has too much power. They are very difficult to defeat, since no state's voters want to give up their influence. The result is the same old, same old.......

    A long-term seanator from another state can wield tremendous power– yet I have not got the ability to vote in their next election. Term limits are the only way to even out the system.

    March 13, 2009 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. sickofitall

    I wish to thank all the voters in Minnesota for taking the spotlight off of us here in Illinois, so go ahead and enjoy this moment just be advised "we will be back" for CORRUPTION will always out perform GOOFY in the long run!

    March 13, 2009 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. Debby

    Franken in the Senate is as much as a joke as Pelosi is speaker.

    March 13, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Frank

    I would vote for Mike Meyers too...sooooo tired of nasty grumpy arrogant narrow minded crooks...comedians are vastly better in government

    March 13, 2009 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Ha_Ha_Ha

    Doesn't Coleman have something better to do, like posting donor credit cards on his website. I could use a new pair of shoes, or a new big screen tv.

    March 13, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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