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. CA

    The people of Minnesota are the losers with either of these guys in office.

    March 10, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Kurt C.

    The only thing that makes this similar to 2000 is that Democrats have used underhanded tactics to try and win an election. This time it looks like they will win.

    March 10, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. Stuart, Atlanta, GA

    If a small margin of victory triggered a first recount, why doesn't a second small margin of victory trigger a second recount? How come this recount is considered accurate, but the first recount isn't accurate? A recount isn't accurate till it matches a previous count, otherwise it is just a new count.

    March 10, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Andy

    Al Franken and his ex radio station "air america" hated this country and he should be ashamed to run for office. Of coarse, the people who voted for him should be ashamed to give him the chance. He is so far to the left of liberal that Obama will be scared.

    March 10, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. truthsayer

    The people of Minnesota need to get up and stand up and say enough is enough!!!. Seat Franken now!!!!!

    March 10, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. anne

    Franken has a PhD. How many of you can say that? Plus, you all seem to LOVE Rush Limbaugh but his resume is on par with Frankens.

    March 10, 2009 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Concerned Citizen

    What's good for the goose, is good for the gander. This is the 'saying' as I remember it.

    As it was reported,,,,, election night,,,, Norm Coleman suggests that Al Franken 'concede' for the good of the people of Minnesota.


    Look who is 'gumming' up the works, for his own personal ego!!!! (with this position,, does he mean,,, the people of Minnesota can go "pound sand' as far as he is concerned???)


    Oh, well,,,,,, roll the dice, people of Minnesota,,,,, one or the other,,,,, seems like Franken has some 'honor' left... and Coleman is just another insider, trying his best to remain one........ at all costs.

    March 10, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  8. bill

    Bush has been out of office now for 2 months, I think some reality is starting to permeate the blinding hatred that allowed people to vote for anything democrat.

    Al Franken. Really?

    This is no kneejerk attack, no angry sticking up for my guy. On the contrary , I am saddened that the man who represents one Parties extrodinary extremist agenda going unchecked is Al Franken.

    Talk about America being a downright mean country.

    Sour Grapes, maybe, but we have to get over Politics as a sports team, its OK to blindly follow a lousy sports team that represents your town or city and stick with them no matter what. But not with our elected leaders, lets look at each Senator, each Congressman, and most importantly, each issue as a stand alone decision we all have the ability and responsibility to think past emotion to recognize this is no mere pendlem lean to the left but all out sprint that risks breaking the tether of the pendulum that has always made this country work. Responsible Capitalism and individual liberty.

    March 10, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. Tim from WI

    Great one more clown in DC.

    We have had our fill of chuckle heads in Washington.

    When have those politicians began to be trustworthy or not a joke?


    We are all morons if we thing the little letter after their names makes any difference (never has never will) seems every generation has to learn that again and again. Will Rogers is laughing from his grave.

    Seems we all have become a nation of fools that keep getting fooled over and over again.


    March 10, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  10. WDM

    Coleman will be in prison before he returns to the US Senate.

    March 10, 2009 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  11. Mike T

    Just what we need, another "actor" and "comedian" in politics.

    March 10, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. boered1

    About time this comes to an end, the RNC should be ashamed they let it get to this point. Coleman should has acknowledged defeat a couple of months ago and allowed MN to have both the Senators she deserves.

    March 10, 2009 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. Nick

    "Al Franken and his ex radio station "air america" hated this country"

    No. They love the country. As much as Rush claims to love the country.

    March 10, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  14. carsonccc

    Al Franken is a disgrace? Why do you figure phoenix86? I would have to say Norm Coleman is a complete and utter disgrace, considering he's nothing more then a poor loser. In fact, the Republicans are poor losers in general. They need to actually be smart about things, regroup, and think of a new strategy, other then trash talking and impeding our country's progress. Especially when our economy is in complete tatters.

    March 10, 2009 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. In Houston, TX

    Filabuster proof Senate, HERE WE COME!!!

    oh, and another thing. To all of you Republicans playing obstruction to the recovery of America...we are coming for you...ALL OF YOU!!!!!
    If you think you have small numbers in congress now...just wait.

    March 10, 2009 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. Suzi

    Putin said it well in Davos for the business summit..."the United States is working very hard to become like Russia, and they don't have long to go until they get there."
    Yes, folks...just keep hoping for socialism and you will eventually get it.
    Margaret Thatcher once said..."the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of taxpayers to pay for it"

    Or as some would say the Dem's are great vicously attacking the Repubicans all the while they are wailing that they are the true victims. you are no more victims to this mess than Obama is the Messiah....and to think Democrats think Al Franken should be a leader in this country or someone who is able to vote laws into place tells most how low this country has sunk too.

    March 10, 2009 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. paul

    This is not a 50-state fight only a 1-State fight and no one should be seated in Congress until due process....I JUST HOPE THE DEMOCRAT IS DECLARED THE WINNER....

    March 10, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  18. frommn

    boered1 – a couple months ago Colman was ahead. In fact, he was ahead the day after the election and after the first two recounts.... I am embarrased to have this clown representing us. If a 3rd party canadiate was not on the ballet, Colman would have won hands down.

    March 10, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  19. Julie

    I don't know if I can take any more democrats in any office. I am shocked each and everyday and how Obama is changing America like he wants, not what Americans want.

    March 10, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  20. Matthew in Oregon

    The GOP is just delaying, trying to keep a senator from being seated for as long as possible. They know they have no chance of winning this. Pretty cynical, if you're from Minnesota.

    March 10, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. Nancy from MN


    How many of you have met Al Franken? I have. Twice. Because he and his wife came to our neighborhood to talk issues during the campaign. A smart, caring and – yes – funny man who focuses on the issues I care about.
    Let's seat Al now.

    March 10, 2009 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  22. Darko

    very open and very bi-partisan contest?

    You honestly think the recount was open and bi-partisan? The minute they mentioned the words 'voter intent' I knew that it was a fraud. Districts that recounted more votes than actual voters? Anything other than a new election is tainted. PERIOD.

    Enjoy your new senator...six years is a long time. He'll fit in great with the rest of the tax cheats in the new administration.

    March 10, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  23. wow

    "If a small margin of victory triggered a first recount, why doesn't a second small margin of victory trigger a second recount?"

    Stuart – MN law automatically triggers a recount when the election night totals are close. There is no law for a second recount, and....

    "A recount isn't accurate till it matches a previous count, otherwise it is just a new count."

    If this were true, why would anyone ever have a recount? The whole point is to make sure votes haven't been overlooked. A recount that matches the initial count (with over 2 mil votes) would be the rare to the point of suspicious.

    March 10, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  24. Frank

    Golly I think it will be great to have an honest politican in the senate for a change, one who admits he's a comedian. The other guy looks too much like the evil green guy in the first Spiderman movie.

    March 10, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  25. sick n tired of being a victim of cowardly CNN moderators

    Welcome to Minnesota "The Election State"! What a JOKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 10, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
1 2 3 4