There is a new factor in play in the Minnesota US Senate race, and it’s too soon to tell whether it will affect the tight contest between Sen. Norm Coleman, Al Franken and Dean Barkley.
The Pioneer Press’s Rachel Stassen-Berger has some details in her morning dispatch on the race. Coleman apparently freaked out after Star Tribune investigative reporters Paul McEnroe and Tony Kennedy showed up at a St. Cloud rally and tried to ask Coleman for comment on a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Texas — and withdrawn Wednesday — against Coleman “suitgate” pal Nasser Kazeminy. Stassen-Berger writes:
Coleman’s [stump appearance] plan … was diverted Wednesday after reporters questioned him during his St. Cloud stop about a lawsuit filed against Coleman contributor Nasser Kazeminy. Coleman walked out of the St. Cloud restaurant where he had just finished his stump speech and jumped into his SUV without answering questions.
Shortly thereafter, reporters traveling with Coleman got word from Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who had spent the past two days on the road with him, that the senator was canceling the rest of his Wednesday stops and heading back to the Twin Cities. Within an hour, Pawlenty called reporters to say Coleman would resume his campaign trip.
According to Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan, the lawsuit, filed Tuesday and withdrawn Wednesday, alleged money was given to Laurie Coleman, the senator’s wife, through the insurance company for which she works to help the Colemans’ personal finances.
So that’s Coleman’s story. But as Paul Demko writes elsewhere at MnIndy regarding Coleman’s Thursday press conference,
Yesterday it was revealed that a lawsuit was recently filed in Texas charging that the Senator’s wife, Laurie, inappropriately received $75,000 from longtime Coleman supporter Nasser Kazeminy. The money was allegedly channeled through the insurance company where she works. Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan stated that the lawsuit has been withdrawn, but it remains unclear if a settlement was reached in the matter. “I don’t know about the details of a settlement or not,” Sheehan said.
Note that Norm Coleman claimed the suit was dropped for lack of merit. That does not exactly jibe with the possibility that it was very quickly settled.
Check out this video, via Aaron Landry at MnPublius, in which Coleman, who refuses to roll down his window even as Paul McEnroe presses the lawsuit up against the glass, hardly comes off as a man with nothing to hide.