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. Charlie

    How about a run off. Neither one of those 2 clowns should be seated. Way too close for comfort.

    January 2, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. Salt & Pepper

    I guess with the overwelming turnout for the Presidential election, the GOP couldn't "sideswipe" it like they did in 2000 and 2004 so now, they are going to try it with Frankinand on a smaller scale. Good luck with that...

    January 2, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. Xavier

    To all you republican mouthpieces crying foul, and to all those republicans claimingto be democrats I say go and whine to somebody who cares. You all sure didnt want a re-count done in Florida. You all wanted Bush so badly! Look at the big mess your sorry excuse for a president has gotten us into. Most of the country would throw their shoes at him if they could.

    January 2, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  4. Mesa Mick

    WHAT? Why that's racist – The GOP is trying to block a white guy from the Senate.
    Where's the outrage by the Dems and the White Caucus?

    January 2, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. Viet Vet

    Maybe count the thousand Votes? Take maybe a couple of hours
    or less. First one to 501 is in. Pretty simple.

    January 2, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  6. Jane (Minnesota)

    Gee, Just what we need.......A Texas senator deciding what is right for Minnesota! Does the Texas senator think he's really THAT important or is he also looking for his 15 minutes national attention. Just get all the legimate absentee ballots counted – get the election certified & then wait for the "no way it's not going to happen" legal challenge.

    January 2, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |

    I don't think anyone should be seated until an official decision is made by the state of Minn. However.........................
    Does anyone know what Coryn's point of view was when Coleman asked Al to step aside?

    January 2, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  8. Moe, NY

    Cornyn....hate to tell you this, but nobody should be seated until ALL THE VOTES ARE COUNTED....It is the people's choice, and you or any other politican has no right to made this decision. The voters are the only ones to make this choice. The American people have had enough of Republicans stealing elections...ENOUGH....wait until ALL votes are counted...whatever the outcome.

    January 2, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  9. IntelligenceOverPandering

    Might be time to give it up norm your lost to both:

    Jesse Ventura for Governor

    Al Franken for Sentator

    Quite a body of defeats

    January 2, 2009 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  10. JJ from Arizona

    To Mike Sloane – You should look at the challenged ballots. It IS two names with circles!

    January 2, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. Godluvr

    It's in their GOP DNA to oppose anything Democratic.

    January 2, 2009 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  12. Jacob

    Lets count the votes, just like we did in Florida back in 2000. Oh wait... nevermind...

    January 2, 2009 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  13. Sherrol in Canada

    This process is making me very tired...yawn!!

    January 2, 2009 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. Tom

    I guess everyone pretty much is missing the real story here. How the heck can Al Franken be that close to winning? I mean it's Al Franken against a sitting Senator. Holy Cow, it Coleman that bad? Come to think of it.....moved to Minnesota because he could not become a Senator in NY.....now losing to someone who wrote for SNL....

    January 2, 2009 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  15. windfall

    Coleman is a career politician and a creepy Bush-lovin' liar.
    The only reason he was ever Senator is because Wellstone's plane went down (mysteriously) 3 weeks before the election. He was hand-picked by Dick Cheney to run.

    Coleman was mayor of St. Paul and he used the same sleazy east coast politics here that he uses in Washington.

    and did i mention he's turncoat? Voted in as a Dem, then changed to the Grand Old Party.

    Dump the creep. GO AL !

    January 2, 2009 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  16. Kathy

    The republican comments are so predictable. ACORN did nothing to the election process except register people that DO NOT EXIST. Do you really think they went and voted only in your immaginary MIND or total lack of mind. Who would let a person with a name and non matching SS # vote especially one not from the right state and or named Mickey Mouse. You need to get the facts before you type a comment. Some people will say anything and think others are dumb enough to fall for it!

    January 2, 2009 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. Ken

    "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."

    The US Supreme Court already ruled in 2000 that citizens have no standing to bring cases to have their votes counted, let alone counted in some uniform way. That's YOUR Supreme Court there Norman...that's YOUR Supreme Court all you neo-lemmings.

    Sounds like Norman is all for litigation now that he is behind, and all you neo-tard supporters are fully complicit in the hypocrisy....yes, that's all you swill-mouths that have been on here the past few weeks saying Frankin will litigate to seek to count more votes until he wins. Now who wants to litigate because they are behind? All you prissy rightwingers with your panties in a bunch can kiss my behind - that's how far behind you are.

    January 2, 2009 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  18. Jerry

    Who cares what Cornyn thinks; he's not from MN.

    Let the MNers decide their own state affairs; it is their SEN that is under discussion.

    January 2, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. Joe the Boxer

    This is hilarious.... The GOP Senators would want to impose a filibuster in opposition to the preliminary seating of Al Franken because of 1000 improperly rejected absentee ballots....
    But it was the GOP's litigation in Minnesota that halted the absentee voter ballot count. So, the GOP is objecting over something that they...themselves....imposed. What a bunch of idiots !!!!

    January 2, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  20. Patti

    its a moot point... err gripe. its minnesota's issue – no one else's.

    we have one of the highest voter turnouts in the country – partly because we trust our officials.

    this is a close race and i only hope neither side contests the outcome.

    January 2, 2009 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
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