MN-Sen: Franken By 225
by Todd Beeton, Sat Jan 03, 2009 at 04:08:38 PM EST
Tonight's big news out of Minnesota: with the recount over, the unofficial count has Al Franken ahead of Norm Coleman by 225 votes.
From The Star Tribune:
Norm Coleman's term as a U.S. senator ended at noon Washington time on Saturday, and by evening his hopes of winning a second term had been dealt an expected but serious setback as state officials counted previously rejected absentee ballots in St. Paul.
DFLer Al Franken held an unofficial lead of 225 votes over Coleman as this edition of the Star Tribune went to press, according to a newspaper tally of the officials' count of the absentee ballots. Franken had led unofficially by 49 votes going into the day and gained a net 176 votes from the new ballots.
Next step: Coleman will challenge Franken's victory in court.
Coleman's lead lawyer Fritz Knaak said the process in the recount was broken, and today's events were just further proof of that. "We are prepared to go forward and take whatever legal action is necessary to remedy this artificial lead," said Knaak.
So what does this mean? Minnesota law is unique in that it prohibits the issuing of an official certificate of election until the legal challenges are all resolved. Unless Coleman backs down and concedes defeat, he could bottle up a Franken win for weeks or even months, depending on how appeals go -- even though it appears to be nearly impossible that he could ever succeed.
The Republicans in the Senate have vowed to block the seating of Franken provisionally. I expect this result today will disabuse the Democrats of any notion to do otherwise with Coleman. Anyone want to take bets on how long Minnesota will have just 1 Senator?