Norm Coleman to Lose Seat Before Losing It
Norm Coleman is likely out of a job, despite his election contest not being settled.
Coleman’s first term officially expires at noon on Saturday, and he is locked in one of the closest Senate races in history, with Democrat Al Franken clinging to a 49-vote lead out of nearly 3 million votes cast. Since he has not been certified a winner in the race, Coleman may have to give up his privileges as a senator, including his desk on the floor, his personal office and his right to vote on legislation, according to Democratic aides familiar with the rules.
This strikes me as a perfectly reasonable outcome. Franken is much more likely than Coleman to be certified the winner when all the challenges are settled. But Franken probably won’t be seated, either, until that point:
The state canvassing board is expected to certify a winner next week, and it’s unclear whether either Franken or Coleman would try to claim the seat following that certification. Doing so would spark a backlash since the fight over the election returns will ultimately land in court — and perhaps the Senate, which has a constitutional role in resolving election disputes. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the chief GOP campaign strategist, said he would block any attempt to seat Franken in the Senate until litigation is resolved and a winner is certified.
So, Minnesota will be short one Senator for a while.