What now?


It appears the U.S. Senate will try to seat Al Franken as a member this week even though he likely won’t have an election certificate from Minnesota, Congressional Quarterly is reporting.

Jim Manley, the spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., said Monday that there “likely will be an attempt to seat [Franken] this week.”

A senior Democratic aide confirmed that Senate Democrats hoped to swear Franken in Tuesday, along with the rest of the freshman senators.

Franken may provide more illumination at his 4 p.m. “statement.”

Meanwhile, the Norm Coleman camp is giving every indication it intends to take the Minnesota Supreme Court up on its suggestion that he pursue an election challenge to get 650 absentee ballots included in the count.

Does this hurt Coleman’s political future? On Midmorning today, Guy Charles, the professor of law at the University of Minnesota Law School, seemed to suggest it does.

In the newsroom today we kicked around the possibility of Coleman running for Tim Pawlenty’s job in 2010. What other statewide Republican has his kind of name recognition?

Update 4:49 p.m. – Outside his Minneapolis home this afternoon, Franken took no questions, but read this statement:

“It has been a remarkable couple of months. Our recount brought national attention to Minnesota, and what Americans saw is that we take our democracy seriously. Our recount process was long, it was fair, and it was thorough. We should all be proud of our state, and we should all be grateful for the incredible hard work and dedication of all of our elections officials, from the state canvassing board and the Secretary of State’s office to the officials in the cities and counties and precincts of Minnesota.”

“After 62 days, after the careful and painstaking hand inspection of nearly 3 million ballots, after hours and hours of hard work by elections officials and volunteers across the state, I am proud and humbled to stand before you as the next Senator from Minnesota.

“This victory is incredibly humbling – not just because it was so narrow, but because of the tremendous responsibility it gives me on behalf of the people of Minnesota.

“While the recount process played out, the challenges facing our state and our nation have only grown. With tensions in the Middle East reaching the boiling point, our economy facing its worst crisis since the 1930s, and Minnesota’s middle class families being squeezed harder than ever, it’s clear that we have a lot of important work to do.

“I want you all to know that I’m ready to go to Washington and get to work just as soon as possible. And I look forward to joining President-Elect Obama and Senator Klobuchar in getting our country moving in the right direction again.

“I know this is not an easy day for Norm Coleman and his family, and I know that because Franni and I and the kids have had plenty of time over the past two months to contemplate the possibility that this election would turn out differently. Norm has worked hard for this state and this country, and I hope to ask for his help to ensure that Minnesotans can continue to count on receiving excellent constituent services from their two Senators without interruption.

“I also know that this was a hard-fought victory, and that I didn’t win the support of every Minnesotan. I’m going to have to earn it by being a Senator who fights for every Minnesotan, whether you voted for me or not. And I want every Minnesotan to hear me say: I work for you now. And I will work hard to earn your confidence.

“There may still be additional legal proceedings related to our recount. But I’m now in the business of serving the people of Minnesota. And the best way I can serve the people of Minnesota right now is to focus all my attention and all my energies on getting to work for them on the issues we’ll be facing together.

“I would like to close by doing something I wish I’d gotten a chance to do properly on Election Night, and that is to thank some people. My amazing staff and supporters across the state who made this victory possible and stuck with us this whole way. All the volunteers who woke up the morning after Election Day and got right back to work to help our recount effort. Our state’s dedicated elections officials, our tremendous congressional delegation, and our fantastic Senator, Amy Klobuchar, who continues to be a mentor and an inspiration. And, of course, my beautiful wife Franni and our amazing family.

“For our state, today marked the end of a long process that will forever be a part of Minnesota history. But today is also a beginning. The history of our country will be forever altered by what we do together to address the challenges we face together. So, with tremendous gratitude for the victory we have won, I’m ready to get to work.

“Thank you.”

  • I guess you are assuming that T-paw is not running?

  • Bob Collins

    I think he’ll run, but all the “smartest people in the room” say he won’t.

  • There are very few people, nationally, who have won 3 statewide elections (4 year term that is) in the last 30 years. While I don’t think it will make him any better positioned to run for President in 2012 (plus I think he is too smart to try), 2016 would seem to be a better run for him. If he does run and does win a 3rd term, he can say from day one it will be his last, and give him 2 (6) years to run for 2016.

  • bigalmn

    It just struck me as I looked at the photo of Al and Frannie, we should have elected her. Anyone who can be married to Al all these years and suffer through this election without being the candidate, but in the thick of things probably deserves it more.