MINNEAPOLIS, Minneapolis (CNN) - The same team that brought baseball fans the Larry Craig 'bobblefoot' doll has done it again, and this time at the expense of former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken who - more than four months after the election - are still caught up in a fight over Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat.
The St. Paul Saints have created "Count Von 'Re'Count," a bobble head doll with a body modeled after Sesame Street's Count Von Count, only this figurine features a head with two sides–turn it one way, it's Franken's face, and the other, you get Coleman.
According to a press release, "the head will spin, reminding fans of the dizzying experience that has been this state's U.S. Senate race."
"We realize that this was sort of a historical thing and we wanted to have a little bit of fun with it," said Saints' director of broadcast and media relations Sean Aronson. "Fortunately for us–or unfortunately, however you want to look at it–this has carried on a lot longer than anyone thought it would."
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Joe Freidberg, the heavyweight Minnesota criminal defense lawyer who's been at the helm of former Sen. Norm Coleman's trial to overturn Democrat Al Franken's win in the recount, said in radio interview that he thinks Franken will come out on top and added they'll be taking their case to the state's high court.
"I think that we've been trying this case with the appeal record in mind, and thats where we're going," Friedberg said in a Wednesday interview with KFAN, a Twin Cities-area sports station.
"It's going to be a very quick appeal," he added.
Asked if he was confident that the three judge panel would side with Franken at the trial stage, Friedberg said that was "probably correct," even adding that he thinks the former comedian and SNL star will remain ahead "probably by a little bit more" than he was after the recount.
ST. CLOUD, Minnesota (CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden took what's been dubbed the "Middle Class Task Force" to rural Minnesota Thursday in an effort to sell the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The group of cabinet members helped field questions at a town hall meeting in St. Cloud.
"We're here to listen, to hear your questions," Biden told the room here at a factory that produces low-emissions buses. "We have laid out a pretty detailed plan. You may thnk some of it can be improved on. You don't like some of it, let us know. You may have other ideas."
"Tell us what it is you need," he added.
Biden was joined by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar.
Questions centered around bus and rail transportation, and economic aide for immigrants, students, and veterans affairs.
Biden said it call comes down to "being able to have the opportunity to have a decent paying job."
(CNN) - Minnesota's high court has denied Democrat Al Franken's request to force the state to issue a certification of election results in the U.S. Senate race while the case continues to be appealed.
Franken currently holds a 225-vote lead over Republican Norm Coleman, who has filed suit over his allegation that some valid absentee ballots may not have been counted. The state’s governor, Republican Tim Pawlenty, and Democratic Secretary of State Mark Ritchie have both said that they will not sign a certification of that election that would make the current count official until that lawsuit is resolved.
The decision means the trial, now wrapping its sixth week of testimony, will continue uninterrupted.
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.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Republican Norm Coleman's attorneys Monday sent a letter to the three judges overseeing the election trial asking them to reconsider their game-changing ruling from Friday that put significant limits on the types of rejected absentee ballots they want examined.
The judges on Friday outlined about a dozen categories of ballots that should not be counted because they said those categories of ballots were not legally cast under Minnesota law. Those included ballots in which signatures didn't match, those submitted by non-registered voters or those inside a return envelope not signed by the voter.
But Coleman, who is seeking to add more rejected ballots to the recount of his November 4 race with Democrat Al Franken for a U.S. Senate seat, argued that not including all of about 4,800 ballots he wants re-examined was a matter of equal protection.
In their letter sent to the court Monday, Coleman's team is arguing that "likely thousands" of the ballots that had been sifted through during the recount process could have fallen under these now-taboo categories.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - The fight over Minnesota's Senate seat is still making its way through the legal system, but Democrat Al Franken's staff on Monday began officially calling him "Senator-elect."
Franken has yet to be issued a certificate of election, and a post-election trial is currently playing out which will decide the outcome.
A press release went out early Monday morning announcing that the "Sen-elect" would be holding a roundtable discussion on the stimulus package with local mayors and a school board member, essentially carrying out duties on par with those of a sitting Senator.
Following the event at the first press conference he's held since the election, Franken said he personally does not insist people address him as Senator-elect, but said "technically" it was correct.
"I won the recount," Franken said. "You can call me Al."
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Republican Norm Coleman was dealt a major legal blow Friday evening as the three judge panel overseeing the post-election trial issued an order that significantly limits which rejected absentee ballots may be reconsidered in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race election.
Counting improperly rejected absentee ballots to prevent what they say was voter disenfranchisement has been a pivotal theme of Coleman's case.
In their order, the judges said they are "confident that...there is no systemic problem of disenfranchisement in the state's election system, including in its absentee balloting procedures."
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - Democrat Al Franken will return to the nation's capitol Tuesday night in order to "prepare" for the possibility that he will be named the junior senator from Minnesota, his spokeswoman Jess McIntosh confirmed to CNN.
Franken is in the middle of a bitter court battle with former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, thanks to a closer-than-close election and subsequent hand recount that left Franken in the lead with 225 votes. Coleman is challenging that outcome.
The former comedian and Saturday Night Live alum will stay in DC through Thursday and will likely meet with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
"The purpose is to prepare him for the Senate, in terms of policy, in terms of familiarizing himself with the institution of the Senate and how it operates, and in terms of the upcoming legislative agenda," McIntosh said. FULL POST
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) - An attorney for Democrat Senate candidate Al Franken told the Minnesota Supreme Court Thursday that Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie have an "obligation" to sign an election certificate, warning that President Obama's stimulus package could be "lost" without Franken's one vote.
A statewide recount put Franken in the lead over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in early January, but Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar has been flying solo since the Senate convened due to a pending legal battle brought by Coleman.
"The nation's business is going on as we speak," Franken attorney Marc Elias told the panel of justices. "You need no further than read the newspaper to know that it may be that the fate of a stimulus package hinges on one vote in the United States Senate. For want of a vote, a stimulus package may be lost."
Elias said that the pending post-election trial - now nearing the completion of it's second week - could continue "for many more weeks or months."