Written by Lily
I’ve been watching the results of the Senate Election in Minnesota. One of two seats remain undecided as the outcome was very close. I became interested in this after Democratic Senator Paul Wellstone was killed in a plane crash on October 25, 2002. His death came just eleven days before the election and fourteen days after he voted against Congressional authorization to “use all means” against Iraq.
The Dem. Party replacement candidate was former Vice President Mondale who lost to Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. In 2005, Al Franken announced he was planning to fill the seat of the late Mr. Wellstone. I have been a fan of Franken’s comedic work since the team of Franken and Davis in the 70’s. His character, Stuart Smalley, is one of my favorites from the SNL line-up. I also found that I liked his political stance. I have read his books and agree with a lot of his views. Franken officially announced his candidacy in February 2007 and would be running against Coleman. As of yet, neither Franken nor Coleman are acting as Senator.
On November 18, the official election results showed Coleman winning by 215 votes. After a hand recount, the results were certified by the MN Canvassing Boards on January 5th. Those results showed Franken winning by 225 votes. Coleman’s campaign filed an election contest the next day. This led to a seven week trial in front of a three judge panel.
On April 13, the panel declared Franklen the winner by 312 votes. There was thought that the Republican Gov. Pawlenty should certify the results at that time. The Governor is deciding whether to run for re-election or become a presidential candidate in the 2012 election.
Coleman has filed an appeal with the MN Supreme Court. Hearings begin on June 1. It could take more than two months for a ruling to come from that court. If Coleman loses that appeal, there is talk that he will take his case to the Federal Courts. Minnesota law states that the Governor must certify the results only after “final judicial determination.” It is unclear if that includes the Federal appeals process. Without clarifying, the Governor has stated he will not certify the results until the appeals process is exhausted, but will sign if the State Supreme Court instructs him. He could refrain from signing if the court doesn’t specify those instructions.
I thought Coleman should have conceded after the two rulings in Franken’s favor. In the meantime, PA Sen. Arlen Specter announced he was switching to the Democratic party, giving them 59seats. The White House needs Franken to be seated in order to have the high hand of a super majority with 60 votes to block a filibuster. There is pressure and strong interest on all sides and I’m wondering how it’s all going to play out.