As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Waiting For The "Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot Act Of 2009"

Al Franken is going to be the next Senator from Minnesota, it's just a question of when.

Norm Coleman's term as a U.S. senator ended at noon Washington time on Saturday, and by evening his hopes of winning a second term had been dealt an expected but serious setback as state officials counted previously rejected absentee ballots in St. Paul.

DFLer Al Franken held an unofficial lead of 225 votes over Coleman as this edition of the Star Tribune went to press, according to a newspaper tally of the officials' count of the absentee ballots. Franken had led unofficially by 49 votes going into the day and gained a net 176 votes from the new ballots.

With the recount complete, focus immediately shifted to the Minnesota Supreme Court, which continued to consider a request from the Coleman campaign to alter the process and add more absentee ballots to be reconsidered. But by early evening there was no word from the state's highest court as to when it would rule or hear arguments.

Even if you factor in the 600 or so ballots that Coleman wants counted outside of those that the Canvassing Board approved, he would now need an overwhelming majority of those votes, maybe 65-70%, to take back the lead. And given the Franken success in absentees today, that is a remote possibility. And even if all of the approximately 130 ballots that Coleman claimed were double-counted were taken out of the count, Franken would still have the lead.

Franken's going to win. Coleman might run out the string on challenges, and take up weeks of time, but Franken's going to win.

Bill O'Reilly's head is going to explode.

...Eric Kleefeld reports that Coleman could easily bottle this up for no good reason.

So what does this mean? Minnesota law is unique in that it prohibits the issuing of an official certificate of election until the legal challenges are all resolved. Unless Coleman backs down and concedes defeat, he could bottle up a Franken win for weeks or even months, depending on how appeals go -- even though it appears to be nearly impossible that he could ever succeed.

And since the Senate Republican leadership has promised to block the seating of Al Franken on any provisional basis, that means this seat could stay vacant for a while.

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