Franken All But Winner in MN Recount
Several hours after Senator Norm Coleman’s first term officially expired, challenger Al Franken all but officially took the Senate seat away from Coleman.
Franken has a 226-vote lead at the moment. But Coleman has 3 issues to fight in court, all of which he will need to win in order to get his seat back:
1) Deny Franken the 46 votes that went missing after the initial canvass;
2) Cherry-pick a claim of double-counting to take 110 votes away from Franken’s lead;
3) Convince the MN Supreme Court to reverse its own ruling and change the rules of counting absentee ballots, to force the addition of some 650 ballots that were properly discounted and of which there is no way yet to tell how they voted.
On the 3rd issue, if today’s vote count was any indication, rejected absentees skew more Democratic than the precincts they come from, so just because the Coleman List comes exclusively from red precincts doesn’t mean they favor Coleman by enough to make any difference.
The first 2 issues are unlikely to be resolved in Coleman’s favor. But even if they do, he would still need #3 to win. And he would need anywhere between 55% and 68% of those Coleman List ballots (not counting third-party votes) to erase the lead, which seem unlikely.
So Franken has all but won this thing. The only problem here is that a legal challenge can block Franken from taking his seat for weeks, if not months. Meaning that the GOP could deprive the Dems of a Senator (if not gaining one for themselves) just by issuing the kind of frivolous lawsuits the Republicans are known for railing against.
Which, by comparison, makes the legal chaos surrounding the Illinois Senate seat seem like a cake walk for Roland Burris.
But I have an off-beat question. Suppose Coleman does win this thing. He obviously won’t be sworn-in on time. Does that mean he has a break-in-service that would disrupt his Senate seniority? So he’d be going to court to grab back a Senate seat where he’d have no better seniority than Franken, and yet would be in the minority party.
Hardly seems worth the fight.