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

Senate GOP prepared to fight early Franken seat

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/02/art.getty.al.franken.jpg caption=" 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. Frankenputz

    Doesn't Cornyn know votes are irrelevant? They ought to seat him and then send his idiotic butt home in disgrace after the recount. This is not funny, much, like all of his Franken's jokes....

    January 2, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. chris

    as a resident of Texas, I'd like to filibuster having John Cornyn seated.

    January 2, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. BB

    Ha ha ha ha ha

    It's not just democrats holding things up. It's the "other" ones too.

    Kick them all out and put real people in there to do the people's business.

    January 2, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. TangoDancer

    I agree with the GOP in this case. I support Mr. Franken, but protocol and etiquette must be respected. The MN senate seat should not be filled until the appropriate MN governmental officials have signed and certified the final election results. There is no hurry, and Democrats can take the high road by cordially respectingg the legitimate concerns of the opposition. America wins when our congress can respectfully & professionally resolve a very contentious issue.

    January 2, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. eric

    The people of Minnesota should be embarrased that this race is even close. First Jesse Ventura and now Al Franken. Al Franken is a complete tool. Enough said!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 2, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Mark Hammill

    If Franken wins after playing all the dirty tricks he's done so far, I will be absolutely disgusted with our election system. I'm already very unhappy with the way groups like ACORN blatantly abuse the system and I'll never understand why we can't require voters to show a state-issued picture ID.

    January 2, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Proud American

    Here they go, when Republicans can't win an election fair and square, they will steal it. Did I just read Supreme Court in this Article??

    January 2, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. LIP

    If Franken could seat himself early because he has a whole 50 votes more than Coleman, than Coleman could have seated himself right after the election when he had 240 more votes than Franken and would have been more entitlted due to the difference.
    Franken is already starting to split my side with his brand of crummy humor. Get the clown out of there and lets hope that with the final count of the absentee ballots, that this guy gets waxed. Anyway, it doesn't matter, as whoever wins, the other will take it to a higher court.

    January 2, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. MP

    It won't matter. The wrong guy will get elected because that's all we have to pick from. Not that I care...as long as I get my government cheese!

    January 2, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. Proud American

    And here comes my Hateful Republicans losers.

    January 2, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. Ken in Dallas

    Cornyn and Coleman... birds of a feather, eh? Egad.

    January 2, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Franken is a SNAKE!

    Ballots with an X through Franken's name, count for Franken. Ballots with an X through Coleman's name, also count for Franken!

    Crooked, sleazy leftist politcs.

    Republicans need to grow a backbone and fight this injustice!

    Sleazy Democrats and Acorn – perfect together!

    January 2, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  13. saftgek

    Regarding the MN Senate seat, it is beyond a "no-brainer" that NO ONE should be seated until the recount is over and a winner declared. This is irrespective of who comes out on top.

    It is appropriate for all involved to absolutely avoid any presence in Washington, D.C. when the swearing-in ceremonies take place for newly-elected officials. Neither Senator Coleman nor Al Franken has been "elected" yet.

    DUH ! ! !

    January 2, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. What are you afraid of Repubs

    If Franken is so incompetent why block him from his seat? Afraid of something?

    And this Cornyn guy, is from the same state that gave us Dumber and More Dumber (refferring to the Bush's), why should i care what the MINORITY PARTY says?

    January 2, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Deb

    RNC-Racist Nasty Crooks we had enough of you sit down and Shut UP!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 2, 2009 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Chris

    Lol, I doubt he would be saying this if Coleman were winning...

    January 2, 2009 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. MaryanneAZ

    These Senators really need to get over themselves and get on with the Country's business. I do not care who represents which State in a close election, toss a coin and get on with it already. The huge issues facing this Country are so pressing and the Senate is fussing over election results that they have no business fighting. What's the fight? A state is conducting a mandatory recount. One candidate is slightly ahead and there are some contested ballots to be counted or discarded. It's not rocket science and it certainly is not the Senate's business. In case Cornyn has forgotten this his State is Texas not Minnesota. He needs to butt out.

    January 2, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  18. Pat Dunedin Fl

    What a about the $75,000 that Coleman and his wife rec
    illegally. Better to seat Coleman have the Senate kick him out
    and never mind the Republican bickering. This way were rid of
    him and the Texas two step once and for all

    January 2, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  19. BURNS



    January 2, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Laura, Boston

    What makes Franken think he has won? I think he should wait until there is no doubt before barreling his way to the Senate and then looking like a fool if it is found that Coleman is the winner.

    Don't we have enough of a mess in IL without MN adding to it?

    The dems are starting to look pretty desperate when you add the whole Caroline Kennedy mess into it.

    I hope Bill Clinton is Senator of NY....Blago is impreached and someone younger than Burris (nothing against him personally) like maybe Jessie Jackson Jr. will be appointed by the interim governor and that Coleman (sorry I can't stand Franken) wins in MN.

    Only time will tell!

    January 2, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  21. Al Frankenstein

    We will continue to count the votes. Until I win or Cloeman loses.
    Whichever comes first.

    January 2, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Sye the Pychic

    I predict John Cornyn will be corned.Just another Texas carpet bagger for big oil and Guns and arms industry.

    January 2, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Whatgoesaround!

    Frankenputz has no sense of humor. I'm laughing out loud that he thinks votes don't matter. He didn't think that in 2000! Suck it up, gopmoron!

    January 2, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  24. Objective thinking

    Poster who calles himself "Proud American" injecting anti-Republican messages in 3... 2... 1...

    January 2, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Shall a committee of us posters gather in Minnesota on a given date and time and


    Geez, what does it take? How many voters are there in Minnesota that they can't count the dang ballots in a reasonable time?

    Hey folks! If all the states would vote by mail like we have in Oregon for years, then no state would have these problems.

    We have no electronic voting machines in booths that can go awry, no hanging chads since we have no chads, we have paper ballots so we have backups, you just mark your ballot with a pen/pencil like you did in school. No rain to drive in, no parking problems since we have no polls. You mark your ballot at home or at the office, sitting down with a cup of something, relax, and take your time. You have two weeks!

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