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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Franken: How We Got Here

With Al Franken–remember him?–winning a key legal battle in his effort to replace Norm Coleman as a U.S.Senator from Minnesota, it’s as good a time as any to be reminded of why this close election has taken so long to resolve.
At TNR, Jason Zengerle lays the blame in part on Minnesota lawmakers who required that all legal rememdies be exhausted before the front-runner in a close race could be certified, and partly on Democratic senators, who in reaction to the Blago-Burris situation, made official certification by a state election chief a condition precedent for seating a colleague.
Meanwhile, the saga is not necessarily coming to a close just yet. The certification of Franken’s election that should ensue in just a few days has to be signed by MN Governor Tim Pawlenty. Some Republicans in and beyond the Senate are urging him to refuse to sign it until Coleman has pursued a whole new series of lawsuits in federal court. They don’t think Colemen can actually prevail; the whole point is to deny Democrats a 49th senator on crucial votes like the budget, for as long a possible.
Normally a governor, particularly one who may ask voters for a third term in 2010, wouldn’t think of denying his state half its Senate representation on national partisan grounds. But Pawlenty is reportedly considering a race for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012, and probably remembers the rock-star status in conservative “base” circles attained by Florida’s Katherine Harris, who didn’t mind stretching election laws in a partisan cause.
The bottom line is that Norm Coleman’s Senate career is over. The only question is how long it takes for Al Franken finally to replace him.

One comment on “Franken: How We Got Here

  1. DanG on

    “the whole point is to deny Democrats a 49th senator on crucial votes like the budget, for as long a possible””
    You mean 59th senator, I think.


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