Coleman Questions Whether Recount Panel Can Decide Election

Posted March 3, 2009 at 6:07pm

Former Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) on Tuesday questioned whether the three-judge panel hearing the 2008 Senate recount trial could determine a winner in the contested election and offered the possibility that a new election would have to be held.

According to local newspaper reports, the one-term Republican Senator said outside the courtroom that “there is clearly a question— about whether the judges could certify him or Democrat Al Franken as the true winner.

When asked whether he thought a new election should be ordered, Coleman said, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press, “In the end, I think, that’s something folks have to think about … The court is going to have to reflect on that.—

Coleman’s comments come one day after one of his attorneys wrote the judges to say the problems with the recount tally are so serious that they may need to set aside the election results.

But according to local news reports, Coleman’s lead spokesman Ben Ginsberg said Tuesday that the campaign is not calling for a new election.

Coleman trails Franken by about 250 votes in the recount, which is currently being tried by the three-judge panel in Minnesota. But the crux of Coleman’s case is that there were widespread problems in the counting of absentee ballots during the statewide recount, which contributed to the vote deficit. Coleman’s attorneys rested their case on Monday, paving the way for Franken’s legal team to begin presenting their side on Tuesday.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee took issue with Coleman’s comments and hailed the recount as a “careful— process.

“Today Norm Coleman’s camp has reached a new low,— DSCC Chairman Bob Menendez said in a statement. “After five weeks in court, they are now asking for the results of the election to be thrown out. That’s not how we do elections in this country. Minnesota’s hand-recount has been one of the most careful and thorough in the history of the United States.

“It is time to stop throwing gas on the fire and allow everyone to move on, so that Minnesota has full representation, the Senate has all of its members, and we can get done the work we were all elected to do,— Menendez added.