March 10th, 2009
05:05 PM ET
11 years ago

Franken: Light at the end of the tunnel

Al Franken says a resolution is near in his marathon battle against Norm Coleman for the contested Senate seat from Minnesota.

Al Franken says a resolution is near in his marathon battle against Norm Coleman for the contested Senate seat from Minnesota.

WASHINGTON (CNN) –– Al Franken says a resolution is near in his marathon battle against Norm Coleman for the contested Senate seat from Minnesota.

Franken made his comments after meeting with Senate Democrats at their weekly luncheon on Capitol Hill. "What I did today was fill them in,” Franken told reporters he left his meeting with Senate Democrats. There's pretty much a light at the end of the tunnel so I kind of told them what was going to happen.”

His comments came 18 weeks after election day. For those of you keeping count, that's 126 days with no resolution.

Coleman, the Republican freshman senator from Minnesota, led Franken by 215 votes after Election Day, out of nearly three million ballots cast. That tiny margin triggered an automatic recount. Franken, the progressive radio host, comedian, and former Saturday Night Live star, led Coleman by 225 votes following the two month long recount.

Coleman contested the recount results, and a three-judge panel is currently considering which disputed ballots may be added to the recount. If Coleman loses the ruling, he could appeal to Minnesota's state Supreme Court.

(Updated with Coleman camp reaction after the jump)

Franken attempted but failed to legally force Minnesota's Republican Governor and Democratic Secretary of State to certify him as the winner before the verdict in the recount lawsuit.

Franken today ruled out being seated until the pending court challenges are resolved, something Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has also indicated in the past few weeks.

An attempt by Senate Democrats to seat Franken without an election certificate and before all legal proceedings were settled would spark partisan fight, since Franken, if he won, would become the 59th member of the Democrats' coalition in a chamber that requires 60 votes for a filibuster-proof majority.

“I think based on the recount, a bipartisan recount done fairly, people think that he (Franken) will prevail in the end but they also believe the Minnesota process should be allowed to be completed," Minnesota's lone senator, Democrat Amy Klobuchar, told CNN when asked if her party was preparing for the possibility that Franken may lose the legal battle.

Klobuchar added that "there was no discussion about doing anything except that, and that’s allowing the Minnesota process to finish up.”

Update: Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan fired back in a statement Tuesday afternoon. "Al Franken doesn't know the difference between a light in the tunnel and the freight train that is coming right at him. The freight train is coming, and it's Senator Norm Coleman being re-elected to the United States Senate," he said. "And, if the contest court results are fair and legal, that freight train is going straight to D.C. with Senator Norm Coleman returning to continue his work for the people of Minnesota to get our economy back on track and creating jobs for the people of our state."

Filed under: Al Franken • Minnesota • Norm Coleman
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. phoenix86

    Franken is a disgrace.

    March 10, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. Jon in CA

    "Light at the end of the tunnel".... and there is a man with a pitch-fork sporting some red horns waiting for Al Franken.

    March 10, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  3. Lorton, Va

    Send Max Headroom back to the Bronx, NY. Coleman is a hypocrite, just listen to what he said about Franken when he was up at first by 200+ votes. Coleman has no honor, no integrity.
    Enough obstruction from Gops.

    March 10, 2009 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  4. jim carroll


    Give each state one billion dollars for each member of Congress– which would distribute the money equally among the states. States could keep all of their employees, and they could add a few more. They could create millions of new jobs by getting a lot of needed projects going. The Federal Government has the Constitutional authority to create new money. It doesn’t need to borrow it from China or anyone else. Giving 535 billion dollars to the states makes more sense than giving two or three trillion dollars to the banks.
    TAX CUTS FOR THE RICH AND FLOAT DRIED UP MONEY SUPPLY When the rich get tax cuts, they don’t put it under their mattress; but what they do with it has the same effect. They store it as bytes on computer chips. They don’t spend the money that’s needed to moves goods and services.

    The efficiency of the clearing houses for financial institutions has dried up trillions of dollars in float. You can’t beat a check to the bank any more. Debit cards, paying bills on line, buying on the internet with Pay Pal and the many other ways that money can instantly be taken out of bank accounts has dried up the money supply. When you could beat a local check to the bank and when it took an out of town check ten days to clear the bank, there were billions of dollars that could be spent by the depositors and billions that could be loaned out by the banks. WHERE ARE THE ECONOMISTS?

    March 10, 2009 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Allan

    Losing sucks, eh phoenix?

    The disgrace is that Coleman won't withdraw his challenge and let Minnesota's elected Senator get to work.

    March 10, 2009 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. Guillermo

    Franken is Sen. Franken and don't forget it!

    March 10, 2009 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. chris

    60 votes folks, just 60 votes till the GOP becomes irrelevant. That's why this contest is so important. Just one more vote.

    March 10, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. MN Voter

    People here in MN are SO tired of Norm Coleman and his wasting of our state's resources. The re-count was done meticulously and in a bi-partisan manner. Coleman's continued challenge is extremely hypocritical since he stated that Franken should just concede on election night "for the good of the people of the state of MN", yet Coleman himself continues to drag things out wasting the taxpayers money and tying up the court system delaying other cases. Many perceive that Coleman does not really think he will win, but is simply trying to delay Franken being seated. A selfish motive from the republican party of PARTY FIRST.

    March 10, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. Joe in Austin

    Just like in the 2000 Florida debacle, this is just too close for our election process to call. A special election re-vote is justified. Had we done this in 2000, we wouldn't have had 8 years of GWB.

    March 10, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. brandon smith

    I guess if you have to cheat your way into the Senate Seat- What a piece of work a very bad piece.

    March 10, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  11. Joe

    The Republicans have been spitefully drawing this out, knowing they can't win, simply to deny the Democrats one Senator voting on important issues. I'm glad to see it is finally going to be resolved.

    March 10, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  12. Watcher

    Uh....he was never really a STAR on SNL, more of a role player...

    March 10, 2009 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  13. Nixon of the Lizard People

    Hopefully the Republicans will accept this Court's lawful decision from this very transparent, very open, very bi-partisan Contest suit.

    March 10, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  14. Bill

    Since it has been clearly evident from the beginning that Franken was the victor, Mr Coleman should pay back what he cost the electorate for his failed bid to win by lawsuit. Isn't that what a man of such high morals should do? Or is he just a blowhard?

    March 10, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  15. Robert

    OMG, this is still going on...

    March 10, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  16. digger

    Keep going Norm. Fight to thr bitter end.

    March 10, 2009 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. Wayne from Fullerton, CA

    Yeeeeeeaaaaaaa! Yipppppeeeee!

    March 10, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  18. Griff............... on The Truth...

    The White-Light? Your dead...

    March 10, 2009 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. Jim

    Franken is the joke at the beginning of the tunnel.

    March 10, 2009 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. cheryl brooks from cali

    May the best man win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 10, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Dylan from Minneapolis

    Can we please have our Senator? Coleman, knock it're only coming off as selfish.

    March 10, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. Steve (the real one)

    The light at the end of the tunnel...its a train!!

    March 10, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. Edward lawler

    Mn deserves Fraken. He's in the same mold as the pro westler they elected one other time. Both have brains only slightly larger than a chickens.

    March 10, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Had It

    I've said all along – re-vote --------–

    Oh well

    March 10, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  25. tax the churchs

    This is better than chinese water torture.Squirm and cry republicans,I love it.

    March 10, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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