WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Arlen Specter's recent switch from Republican to Democrat appears to have caused him some confusion over party loyalty.
The Pennsylvania senator said he "misspoke" in an interview with the New York Times Tuesday when he voiced his support for GOP Sen. Norm Coleman, who is locked in a recount battle with Democratic challenger Al Franken in Minnesota.
"In the swirl of moving from one caucus to another, I have to get used to my new teammates," Specter told CQ Politics. "I'm ordinarily pretty correct in what I say. I've made a career of being precise. I conclusively misspoke."
Questioned about who he's supporting in elections Specter responded, "I'm looking for Democratic members. Nothing personal."
Specter's comments came after an interview with the Times in which the Pennsylvania senator declared he is rooting for a Coleman win in the hotly-contested Senate race. "There is still time for the Minnesota court to do justice and declare Norm Coleman the winner," he told the magazine.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - A day after a much-awaited trial court ruling named Democrat Al Franken the winner of Minnesota's U.S. Senate race, an attorney for former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman said they still plan to appeal to the state's high court.
Coleman lawyer Ben Ginsberg emphasized the need for a full review of the ruling over the need for a speedy appeals process. "I would be surprised if it's before next week," he said. "I mean, we're reviewing the 65-page opinion, and I think we'll take time to be sure we review and frame the issues correctly before we file the notice."
The Coleman camp's arguments were shot down from just about every angle in the lower court's decision. But Ginsberg said he has confidence the Minnesota Supreme Court will see their case differently, and focus more on the equal protection argument Coleman had been pursuing all along.
He added that, based on what he's seen in the state Supreme Court's historical rulings, the high court justices will be more conscious of the "rights of voters."
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – Democrat Al Franken extended his lead over former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman Tuesday as the three-judge panel overseeing the election trial tallied an additional 351 absentee ballots that had not previously been included.
Despite his slim chances, Coleman had been hoping to overtake Franken's first post-recount lead of 225 votes. After Tuesday's additions, Franken leads by more than 300.
While the judges did not offer an official ruling - or indicate when they would - these vote totals are likely to remain unchanged.
"I think we are done," Franken attorney Marc Elias said at a press conference upon the completion of the tallying at the Minnesota Judicial Center. ""There is a sense of relief that it's over, at a personal level."
But banking on the fact that the judges' final decision would rest in Franken's favor, Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg reasserted the former senator's desire to appeal the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Perhaps laying the groundwork for an appeal to a higher court, Republican Norm Coleman’s attorneys are beginning to publicly question the three-judge panel presiding over his post-election legal battle, saying Wednesday that the judges are creating a "real problem” by not reconsidering their ruling from Friday that put a damper on much of Coleman’s case over rejected absentee ballots.
“The court creates a real problem for itself and the reliability of these proceedings,” said Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg, adding that it could create a “legal quagmire that makes ascertaining a final, legitimate result to this election even more difficult.”
Coleman’s attorneys maintain the judges’ Friday order that threw out certain rejected absentee ballots and ruled them unlawfully cast due to certain errors fails to account for “thousands” of absentee ballots that could have been accepted while still containing the same errors.
According to Ginsberg, “illegally cast ballots under their definition are included in the counts.”
The types of ballots ruled taboo by the judges include categories of absentee ballots submitted by non-registered voters, absentee ballots inside a return envelope not signed by the voter or absentee ballot applications that were not signed, and absentee ballots that were dropped off in person on election day.
Ginsberg said that about 100 ballots allowed in to the count during the recount process would have fallen under the new outlawed categories.
The Coleman campaign’s press release does not say whether or not they are currently pursuing other legal avenues or setting up an appeal.
Asked if that were the case, Coleman spokesman Mark Drake said only, "We're concentrating on the 3-judge panel and hoping they cure the defect they've created.”
A spokeswoman for Democrat Al Franken Jess McIntosh said Coleman's lawyers are "denegrating" Minnesota's election process "in order to set up their appeal."
Franken held a slight lead of 225 votes after the recount was completed. The trial is now in its fourth week of testimony with no apparent timetable for a speedy conclusion.
(CNN) – Former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has not given up the fight for Minnesota’s Senate seat.
Monday Coleman personally attended the first day of the trial where a three judge panel is considering testimony in his post-election challenge.
In a statement also issued Monday, Coleman took issue with several aspects of the recount recently concluded by a state canvassing board which declared Democrat Al Franken the winner in a very tight race against Coleman.
“I will remain actively engaged through the election contest trial, as I have done through every step of these post-election proceedings,” Coleman said in the statement.
“I have great confidence in my legal team and I remain fully confident that if these issues are properly addressed - if no vote is counted twice, if consistent standards are applied, and if no voter is disenfranchised – I will end up where I was on Election Day: in the lead on my way back to the United States Senate.”
–CNN All Platform Journalist Chris Welch contributed to this report.
(CNN) - Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman has officially filed a lawsuit to contest the state canvassing board’s decision to certify results of the statewide recount which put Democrat Al Franken on top.
Appearing before the press for the first time in months, Coleman said he has instructed his lawyers to move forward with the lawsuit.
Watch: Coleman to contest recount
"Not every valid vote has been counted and some have been counted twice," Coleman said, repeating allegations made by his attorneys. They lay much of the blame for these alleged errors on the secretary of state’s office, saying officials there have sympathized with Franken.
The Coleman lawsuit, filed in Ramsey County District Court, would produce a trial that would be presented before a three-judge panel. Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak said he "would not be surprised" if the trial lasts for a solid two months.
Knaak added that "technically, we could re-do the entire recount," although that was not currently in their plans.
There is still no official winner in the state’s Senate race, since Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty won't sign off until legal battles have been exhausted.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - A state election board on Monday will announce Democrat Al Franken as the winner of the Minnesota Senate race, defeating Republican incumbant Norm Coleman, state officials told CNN Sunday.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie told CNN the canvassing board on Monday will confirm that Franken won the race by a 225-vote margin.
Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann oversaw the tallying of roughly 950 improperly rejected absentee ballots Saturday, which was the last remaining hurdle in the canvassing board's procedure. He said no outstanding challenges remain and that the only thing left for the board to do Monday is certify the numbers. Their meeting will convene at 2:30 p.m. (3:30 p.m. ET).
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.
(CNN) - With somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 ballots left to be processed, the recount in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race will resume this week and likely will not be resolved until the end of the month, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said Sunday.
A unofficial running tally on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Web site had Democrat Al Franken leading incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman by 251 votes
on Sunday - in a race in which nearly 2.5 million votes were cast - but Ritchie cautioned against pronouncing either candidate ahead until all votes are counted.
"From the first night of the election - election night, November 4 - it has been impossible to say which candidate was leading because it is not known
who's leading until all the ballots are counted," Ritchie said in an interview with CNNRadio.
"The many people who have been making pronouncements about who's ahead and who's behind are not speaking from a knowledge base. They are speculating."
Ritchie said the state canvassing board has completed the vast majority of the main work in the first round of the recount and board members will meet
Tuesday to finalize vote totals. That will leave between 1,000 and 2,000 wrongly rejected absentee ballots and about 150 overseas ballots left to be processed, he said.
"We had 99.97 percent agreement in the first round, that's with the candidates and the local election officials," Ritchie said.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - Democrat Al Franken currently holds a slight edge over incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota's still unresolved U.S. Senate race, according to a running tally on the Minneapolis Star Tribune's Web site.
The newspaper's mid-morning tally showed Franken with a 102 vote margin over Coleman with several hundred ballots still to be reviewed. On Thursday evening, Coleman had been ahead by single digits.
But the race remains fluid: the results reported by the Star Tribune are an ongoing tally, with hundreds of challenges still to be reviewed Friday.