Daily Digest: 1-6-09

The Canvassing Board certified results showing Al Franken with a 225 vote lead, while Norm Coleman’s campaign has promised a legal challenge today. MPR, Star Tribune, PiPress and AP have stories.

Al Franken gave a victory speech last night.

Political observers say Coleman’s challenge could come with big costs.

Franken will not be in Washington today and Sen. Harry Reid said he will not try to seat him today.

Rep. Betty McCollum is urging that Franken be seated immediately.

MPR looks at Al Franken’s journey to this point.

State Government

The 2009 legislative session opens today. MPR’s Midday will be broadcasting live from the Capitol.

The budget will likely dominate the legislators’ time, but the AP and Finance and Commerce look at some of the other issues to watch.

Schools are ready for a tough legislative session.

Minneapolis begins to figure out how it can cope with less aid from the state.

Duluth’s mayor is proposing some changes to cope with budget cuts.

Moorhead’s getting ready for cuts in services and layoffs.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty held a “Government Reform Summit” yesterday to get more budget ideas.


Minnesota’s one new Congressman, and one of a few new Republicans, Erik Paulsen, will be sworn in today.

The federal government has run out of money for digital TV coupons. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has said she will push for new coupon money so the transition to digital TV will go smoothly.

Congress is pledging to pass an economic stimulus bill by mid-February.

Roland Burris, Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s pick to replace President-elect Obama in the Senate, is in Washington, but it is unclear if he will be seated.

And the new members of the Democratic majority are a relatively moderate bunch.

  • I am shocked, and disappointed, in Governor Pawlenty’s comment as reported by MPR : “We need to make sure that we have a result that reflects integrity, reflects accuracy and reflects a fairness that people can say, ‘Yeah, it was a close call, was a tough fight, it took longer than we wanted,’ but in the end we can all look each other in the eye and say it was a fair process,” said Pawlenty.

    By inference, Pawlenty is tainting the work that has been done thus far and the people that did the work … including people that he appointed to the Supreme Court. With our state resources so limited in the judicial system, why encourage Coleman to litigate. Pawlenty should keep his mouth shut … IF Coleman files suit (or if Franken had), then the comment may have been understandable as he would be defending spending state resources.

    IMO, we will never know who the people really wanted since there are tens of thousands of rejected absentee ballots. IF those could be reviewed, the margin may be larger (or reversed). There is no winner in this contest … Franken prevailed but he did not win.

    With the monies that he has spent already (and the monies that he is using involving the Nasser Kazeminy situation), Mr. Coleman may want to evaluate carefully the impact to his image especially if he wants to run for Governor in 2010 or again for the US Senate.

    Actually, I have a solution to the whole mess. Since Obama needs a Secretary of Commerce and he has only two Republicans in the current Cabinet, Obama should ask Coleman. Although they had significant differences on foreign policy, Obama and Coleman supported many of the same Senate bills especially in the energy area. Since members of the Cabinet do not solicit campaign funds, Coleman would be off the “Fund-raising circuit” and where he will be used as the poster-child for how elections are being stolen by the Democrats.