Franken Wins Minnesota Senate Seat; Coleman Concedes

Democrat Al Franken won Minnesota’s disputed U.S. Senate seat as a loss at the state Supreme Court prompted Republican Norm Coleman to concede after an eight-month post-election battle.

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Iniquity Abounding

“And because iniquityStrongs 458:anomia, an-om-ee´-ah; from 459; illegality, i.e. violation of law or (genitive case) wickedness: — iniquity, x transgress(-ion of) the law, unrighteousness. shall abound,……
—Matthew 24:12a

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
—Isaiah 5:20

“A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?”
—Jeremiah 5:30-31

“I am so excited to finally be able to get to work for the people of Minnesota,” Franken, 58, said at a news conference at his home in Minneapolis. “I can’t wait to get started.” He said he believes he will be sworn in early next week.

Democrats will now control the Senate 60-40 as it works to overhaul health care, limit greenhouse-gas emissions and revamp financial regulations. The party needs 60 votes to overcome Republican delaying tactics on legislation. The Minnesota seat has remained vacant since January.

“I look forward to working with Senator-elect Franken to build a new foundation for growth and prosperity,” President Barack Obama said in a statement released by the White House.

Coleman, 59, congratulated Franken after the Minnesota Supreme Court unanimously said the Democrat “received the highest number of votes legally cast.”

“I respect its decision and, I will abide by its result,” Coleman said at a news conference outside his home in St. Paul. “We’ve reached a point where it’s now time to come together.” Coleman, who won the seat in 2002, was seeking a second term.

Franken said he received a “very gracious call” from Coleman after the court ruling. “He just said this is going to be the best job you’ll ever have,” the Democrat said.

Democrat Amy Klobuchar holds Minnesota’s other seat.

Former Comedian

Coleman had urged the Supreme Court justices to throw out a lower court decision that Franken, a former comedian on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” won the Nov. 4 election by 312 votes. The Republican contended about 4,000 absentee ballots that were ruled invalid should be counted.

The court disagreed, saying, “Coleman introduced no evidence of foul play or misconduct” in one of his claims over missing ballots.

After leaving “Saturday Night Live,” Franken hosted a national radio program before returning to his home state to challenge Coleman. Coleman is a former state prosecutor and mayor of St. Paul.

Asked whether he was considering running for governor of Minnesota, Coleman declined to comment. “Let’s address the future another day,” he told reporters.

Bush v. Gore

One of Coleman’s arguments, rejected by the court today, was based on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that gave the 2000 presidential election to George W. Bush over Democrat Al Gore.

The claim in that case was “that there were no established standards under Florida statutes” for a recount, the Minnesota court said. “Here, there were clear statutory standards for acceptance or rejection of absentee ballots, about which all election officials received common training.”

The initial tally of the more than 2.4 million votes cast showed Coleman ahead of Franken by a few hundred votes. A recount, required by state law because of the close vote, gave Franken a 255-vote lead.

Coleman challenged that finding and a three-judge court, after a seven-week trial, ordered the counting of additional absentee ballots that increased Franken’s lead to 312.

In March, the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected Franken’s bid to temporarily serve in the Senate while the three-judge panel heard Coleman’s challenge. Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, who is considering running for president in 2012, refused to certify Franken as the winner, saying state law barred certification until Coleman’s court challenge was resolved.

Coleman said he spoke with Pawlenty today and “let him know I was coming out here to make his life a little easier” in deciding whether to sign a certification.

Two of the Minnesota court’s seven justices took no part in today’s ruling. Chief Justice Eric Magnuson and Justice G. Barry Anderson, who sat on the state canvassing board that performed the initial recount, recused themselves from the case.

  1. becca, 01 July, 2009

    I bet if I could stuff ballots in my trunk and then turn them in I could also win an election. Typical liberal.

  2. sanford, 02 July, 2009

    Senator Franken typical liberal?
    Senator Ensign, Governor Sanford typical conservatives?

  3. Scott L., 03 July, 2009

    Franken wasn’t funny on SNL, and his talk show was a complete bomb. So this means he’ll be what he always wanted to be, the biggest joke only second too………., I’ll let you all fill in the blank.

  4. Joy B., 07 July, 2009

    They say a government can become so corrupt that politicians need to be actors (see A-R-N-O-L-D). I guess when the government becomes a complete joke, the politicians need to be comedians.

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