All over but the suing


by Jeff Fecke The Minnesota Senate race is not over, not officially. The race won’t be certified until Monday, and election challenges loom after that. But for all intents and purposes, Al Franken locked up victory today, extending his lead to 225 votes.

Jeff Fecke is a freelance writer who lives in Eagan, Minnesota.In addition to his own blog, Blog of the Moderate Left, he also contributes to Alas, a Blog, Minnesota Campaign Report, and AlterNet. Fecke has appeared as a guest on the “Today” show, the Alan Colmes radio show, and the Mark Heaney Show. Fecke is divorced, and the father of one really terrific daughter. His debut novel, The Valkyrie’s Tale, is now available.

This leaves Norm Coleman in a very bad spot. Coleman has claimed through his attorneys that there are 130 more votes for him (or more accurately, 130 fewer for Franken) if “duplicate ballots” are thrown out. And Coleman also has been upset by 46 votes Franken gained from a Minneapolis precinct in which 133 ballots were lost, and in which the initial machine count was used instead of the hand recount.

But 130+46=176. And that leaves Franken a winner by 49 votes. Coleman would need to find more votes somewhere, which is why he’s currently suing to try to get an additional 634 absentee ballots counted — but those are ballots that do not appear to have been improperly rejected, which county officials say were properly rejected. It’s hard to imagine that changing at this late date.

In short, Coleman can sue, and likely will. But it’s hard to see any way in which the numbers work for him. At this point, Coleman is delaying the inevitable. That’s his right, but that doesn’t make it smart politically. If Coleman wants to, say, run for governor in 2010, he’s better off conceding graciously and rebuilding.

Originally published 1/3/09