Reid Won’t Seat Franken Before Minnesota High Court Appeal
In praising the decision by a Minnesota court to uphold Democrat Al Franken’s narrow victory over former Sen. Norm Coleman (R) in last November’s election, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) signaled Monday evening that he would not move to seat Franken in advance of Coleman’s expected appeal to the state Supreme Court.“Tonight’s court ruling acknowledges once again that the people of Minnesota elected Al Franken to its vacant Senate seat nearly six months ago. Minnesotans have waited long enough to be represented by the two U.S. Senators they deserve,— Reid said in a statement released by his office. “Norm Coleman is entitled to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. If he does so, we look forward to a prompt decision from that court so that Gov. Pawlenty can issue an election certificate and we can finally bring an end to an episode that has left the people of Minnesota without full representation for too long and has cost taxpayers too much money.—Coleman led Franken by 700 votes the day after the Nov. 4 election. But after subsequent re-canvasses of the totals and a statewide recount, Franken ended up on top by 225 votes. Coleman, whose Senate term expired at the end of the 110th Congress, challenged the results in state court. Last week, hundreds of additional ballots were added to the recount tally and Franken increased his lead to 312 votes over Coleman. On Monday night, a three-judge panel found that Franken had received the most votes in the contest and declared him the winner.Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is not expected to sign Franken’s certification papers at least until Coleman exhausts his options in state court. Technically, Reid and Senate Democrats could move to seat Franken at any point, even if he does not have an election certificate. But Senate Republicans have indicated they will filibuster any move toward seating Franken at this point.