Meanwhile, In Minnesota…Pawlenty In A Pickle?

Meanwhile, In Minnesota…Pawlenty In A Pickle?


It just keeps going and going and going and…

However, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel. The Minnesota Supreme Court dealt Coleman’s chances a pretty big blow a couple days ago when they said that only a handful of absentee ballots would be reevaluated. And this is shaping up to put the Republican Governor of the state in a bit of an awkward position.

From Politico:

Franken won big Tuesday when a three-judge panel allowed the review of no more than 400 absentee ballots in a race he currently leads by 225 votes. Coleman’s camp says an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court is coming; once that’s done, the dispute lands in Pawlenty’s lap.

If Franken’s ahead at that point, Pawlenty will have a choice: sign the election certificate that will allow Democrats to seat Franken in the Senate or play to the Republicans whose support he’d need in 2012 by withholding the certificate while Coleman challenges the election in the federal court system.

“The Republican Party nationally and in Minnesota is playing not just with fire, but with dynamite,” said Rep. James L. Oberstar, a Democrat and the dean of Minnesota’s congressional delegation. […]

If Pawlenty and the Republicans push it further, he says, “this thing is going to blow up in their face.”

To his credit, Pawlenty has never said he’ll do anything but go with the court’s decision, but at what point do you call it a day? At what point does Minnesota need a representative in the Senate instead of letting a political opponent drag this thing on endlessly through the courts? I’ve long contended that they should just hold another election and go with those results instead, but that’s not going to happen at this point and allowing Coleman to make appeal after appeal isn’t politically tenable either, is it?

More as it develops…

  • kranky kritter

    I must be missing the part where there is a local groundswell of outrage over MN’s empty seat. Pawlenty is just letting it play out. Like you concede, he’s already said he’ll go with what the court decides.

    That suggests strongly to me that he has already chosen the path most likely to minimize the amount of sh!t that gets on him. Republicans are extremely unlikely to blame Pawlenty for the events that led to Franken’s iffy but apparently now just about inevitable seating.

    So I see no pickle for Pawlenty, only for the democrats who are soon to be stuck with another tedious aging partisan douchebag in their caucus. Good luck with that, dems.

    Minnesota seems like a great place to live, and the folks there seem refreshingly down to earth. MN is splendid shade of lilac that I wish my home state of Massachusetts resembled more closely. At the same time, I bet there are plenty of natives who are worried the future might add to what is already a somewhat embarassing Ventura-Franken legacy.

    Hopefully the next MN pol that gets a national spotlight is not such a cartoon character. In the meantime, don’t feel too bad. How do you think MA feels with well-known national “gifts” like Ted Kennedy, Mike Dukakis, and Mitt Romney?

  • Ralph Kramden

    Justin says: “I’ve long contended that they should just hold another election and go with those results instead”

    Justin – where is it written in MN law that the loser gets a do-over in a close election? Just because two numbers are large and close together doesn’t mean you can’t count carefully and transparently and determine which is bigger.

    Why not just give the Senate seat to the person with the most votes? That is the way it’s traditionally done. And it’s also the law. So why not follow it?

  • ME

    Ralph is right. There’s no rule that says the winner has to win by some margin.

    When you count the votes, the winner is clear. Al Franken won. No revotes required.

    Why this case would even have standing in a federal court makes no sense to me. This is a state issue.

  • Trescml

    The only way this becomes a problem for Pawlenty is if the Minnesota Supreme court doesn’t says if Pawlenty has to issue the certificate and the Federal courts don’t issue an injunction to prevent him from doing that. In this scenario the Republican base would be screaming at him not to sign off and it would hurt his 2012 chances if he did. But if the courts haven’t resolved this by Pawlenty’s re-election campaign, the state electorate may hold him responsible.

    I think the best outcome would be for Michele Bachmann to run for the Senate seat next time it comes up (oh, wait, April Fool’s day was yesterday).

  • gex

    Fools! Everyone knows how this is supposed to work:

    In the close 2000 election, Gore needed to concede for the good of the country.

    In the close 2004 election, Kerry needed to concede for the good of the country.

    In 2008, when Coleman was ahead, Franken needed to concede for the good of the state.

    After the legally mandated recount putting Franken ahead, Coleman needs to sue repeatedly and possibly have as many revotes as needed to win.

    Isn’t democracy fun?

  • Alex Carroll

    (Gex above says it best.)

    Now that Al Franken has won the election, and that a recount, and a court has found him to be the legitimate winner and senator-elect, when will he ever be seated? The senate needs him, especially on close votes. Moreover, Minnesota voters are deprived of their representation rights by not having him in the senate.

    I’d be interested in your response at my site’s online poll on which date that he’ll finally get seated: LINK

  • Rob

    We know you’ve long contended it, but that doesn’t make it right.