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. JM

    Hey GOP,

    I think you're out of line. It is the Dems who are threatening to physically remove the only African American Senator from the Senate chamber, not the Republicans. Who's the racist?

    January 2, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. minnnesota liberal

    Everyone on this page who is saying stuff about Franken is clueless. They've not listened to him and they've not heard his stances on issues. And he is also not the first actor to go to Washington remember Ronald Reagan. But to be honest I like Franken a million times more then Racist Reagan.

    Also since I live in MN and I know the situation I'd like to say that I believe Coleman is trying to steal the election, just like Bush in Florida. Except Coleman won't be successful because MN is to Democratic.

    January 2, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Dan from Minneapolis

    Weren't republicans demonizing filibustering just a few years ago when they were trying to install right wingers on the SCOTUS? What happened to an up or down vote?

    January 2, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  4. thedirkus

    Burris is a Democrat, for the record.

    January 2, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |


    January 2, 2009 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  6. Raju

    I am a Democrat. And in this I agree with the Republicans. The Republicans cheated Al Gore in 2002. This world and this country would be in much better shape if not for their idiocy.

    Anyway, the recount should be allowed to it's fullest completion. If there are iota of votes out there to be counted, it should be counted.

    Democrats should not practice the down and dirty politics Republicans are part and parcel off. We are the party of the people and not Wall Street and Corporations. Let all the votes, every single one of them be counted. And let the chips fall where it may, and let that be the judge.

    January 2, 2009 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Ken in Dallas

    Ask not what your Country can do for you...

    Ask what you can do for...

    Me, Al Franken.

    Come on, people, are you unanimously humorless? What's funny about Coleman (other than his victims, that is?)

    January 2, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. mb

    All of this not seating is foolish. If these senators and congresspeople who don't want to seat the chosen, their pay should be deducted for everyday that they use taxpayers money, when not tending to the United States business.
    The individual states and their legislature should handle their own procedures.

    January 2, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  9. Ken in Dallas

    Is is racist to identify the race issue around the Burris appointment as a Red Herring?

    Am I offending any of you Silver Herrings out there?

    January 2, 2009 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  10. sick n tired

    WAH! I want my binky! If you guys don't play the way I (cornyn) want to play then Im taking my ball and going home WAH!!!!!

    January 2, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. sick n tired

    WAH! I want my binky! If you guys don't play the way I (cornyn) want to play then I'm taking my ball and going home WAH!!!!!

    January 2, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. nom deplume

    It really is about time that the supporters of the Glorious November Revolution take back those parts of the Country that are proudly democratic, and put some backbone into State's Rights. Then the proudly left wing states can have all the social programs they want without having to endure the harping and obstruction from those on the right, like the business community, investors, and nonunionized scab workers in their comfy suburbs. Let them go off to the Red states and make their own America.

    (sarcasm off)

    January 2, 2009 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. nom deplume

    Burris is a Republican???

    January 2, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. No Qualifications Needed

    Franken would fit in well in Obama's Washington DC where no qualifications are required to hold office, ya know?

    January 2, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Unshrub

    How come every time a republican senator speaks now they threatening to filibuster, but when they controlled the senate and a Democrat hinted about filibustering the republicans screamed bloody murder and said they were going to change the rules. Isn't that being hypocritical?

    January 2, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. nom deplume


    It isn't a coup d'etat. That takes place only when the head of government, and not the government itself is overthrown.

    We have had a revolution. This occurs when the reigning government is forcibly removed. Since we have elections, that subsitutes for actual, physical force of arms. In our case, the republic form of government, which has been dying for decades, has been put out of its misery.

    Benjamin Franklin was asked at the end of the Constitutional Convention what the Congress had created, and he famously replied" A republic Madam. If you can keep it."

    Seems we have answered his question.

    January 2, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  17. Unshrub

    Bigotry in the Senate:

    Please get you facts straight. Burris is a Democrat.

    January 2, 2009 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. Retired Army in San Antonio

    Bigotry in the Senate - January 2nd, 2009 3:52 pm ET

    Franken is going to be seated by Reid – Franken is white; has not yet been elected; and is a Democrat

    Burris is not going to be seated – Burris is black; he has been legally appointed; and is a Republican


    Sorry Gizmo,

    Roland Burris, like Blagoyavich, is a Democrat. I should know; I'm from Illinois and voted for him 4 times.

    January 2, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. southerncousin

    Hey minnesota liberal I am from Minnesota too and we all know ACORN and the unions stole this election for Freaking Frankin.

    January 2, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. Proud American

    Objective thinking = My comments aren't anti Republican but the truth. The problem you have is accepting the truth. Please stop blaming the world because Republicans are stupid. It's not my fault.

    January 2, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. mARGE

    I am from Minnesota and this time I would agree with the GOP. I think that when we get a senator it should be official and sanctioned. That there is no question as to the outcome of the votes.

    I surely hope that the votes are not stopped from being counted like the Supreme Court did for the bush administration to give him the presidency. I think Franken will win, but I hope there is no question about it.

    January 2, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Lee

    So then the democrats should refuse to seat a few repug Senators.

    So play hardball with these ruinous scum. The republicans belong in jail anyway.

    Everyone who voted repuglican over the last 10 years should be taxed at an 50 to 70% excess rate as reparations for the damage they have done to the rest of us.

    January 2, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. John, Rochester MN

    Chris January 2nd, 2009 3:41 pm ET
    Then stop voting for these clowns. Everyone universally thinks Capitol Hill is inept but the voters put these people there — nobody else.
    That's the real problem, isn't it? The typical American voter thinks everybody in Congress is bad except for their guy. Of course, being in MN, I know my guy is bad, which is why I'm rooting for Franken.
    The other thing that bothers me is people that vote against their own interests based on the party of the candidate. Look at ND for a good example. Primarily a farm-based economy, and they overwhelmingly vote Republican even though Republicans, by and large, care nothing about the US farmer. I typically vote Dem, but that's mostly because I haven't seen a Rep worth voting for in the last 20 years.

    January 2, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. dimes

    Glad I don't live in Mini-sota. The state that elected a professional wrestler as Governor and now maybe an idiot comedian as Senator. Makes Illinois politics look good.

    January 2, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Julie

    I am an Illinois Democrat and anyone appointed by Gov. Blago should not be seated until things are resolved in this state. This is our mad governor playing the race card to get even with his critics in this state, which by the way is almost everyone. Burris was appointed after another African American turned the good governor down. The election in MN is not the same as what is going on here in IL, although, I don't think Franken should be seated until the election recount in MN is totally completed including any court action.

    January 2, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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