Norm Coleman to Lose Seat Before Losing It

Norm Coleman is likely out of a job, despite his election contest not being settled.

When the 111th Congress convenes, Coleman may be out of an office. Photo: AP

When the 111th Congress convenes, Coleman may be out of an office. Photo: AP

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.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. just me says:

    If Coleman’s term expires it expires. Seems to me leaving the seat empty until things are resolved is better than trying to decide who has more claim to the seat-or leaving Coleman in place if Franken is declared the winner of the recount.

  2. Triumph says:

    Franken is much more likely than Coleman to be certified the winner when all the challenges are settled.

    I doubt Pawlenty will allow Franken to steal the election. Coleman should go to Washington and get on with business. He was the clear winner. Stuart Smalley doesn’t have the legitimate votes. He should go back to doing podcasts out of his mama’s basement.

  3. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    So we get a Frankenstein in congress. Funny how Coleman won on election day, and Frankenstein wins on recount day. Frankenstein must be democrat

  4. Eric says:

    Coleman should go to Washington and get on with business. He was the clear winner.

    and

    Funny how Coleman won on election day, and Frankenstein wins on recount day.

    I disagree. First of all, Coleman’s term is officially over. He can’t “get on with business” even if he wanted. Secondly, if Coleman was the “clear winner,” well, then, we wouldn’t be having all of this recount business, would we? The fact of the matter is that the race was close, a recount according to Minnesota State procedures occurred, and Al Franken now appears to be the winner.

    For those of you who insist that Coleman “won” on election day, I would simply argue that a recount is hypothetically more precise by virtue of every detail having to be deliberately gone over by the various counties. After having watched the MN State Canvassing board laboriously going over the ballot details, you couldn’t argue that the recount was anything but fair.

  5. just me says:

    Eric=there are several instances of the repbulican winning on election day but losing in the recounts.

    Can you find me an instance where the republican lost on election day but won in the recount? That is where all this bothers me. The democrats always seem to manage to pull out just enough votes to win in the end.

  6. Floyd says:

    Al Franken is a fool without redeeming value who brings shame to the people of Minnesota!…….
    and I’m from Illinois![lol]

  7. Drew says:

    “For those of you who insist that Coleman “won” on election day, I would simply argue that a recount is hypothetically more precise by virtue of every detail having to be deliberately gone over by the various counties.”

    LOL Apparently you did not follow the absurd carnival act called “the recount.”

    By the way, I gots this bridge for sale………in New Yawk….

  8. Floyd says:

    “”if Coleman was the “clear winner,” well, then, we wouldn’t be having all of this recount business, would we?””
    “”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””
    YES! They certainly would![lol]

  9. Wayne says:

    Eric
    “After having watched the MN State Canvassing board laboriously going over the ballot details, you couldn’t argue that the recount was anything but fair”

    You mean like wondering about unsecure ballots being found and counted. How about Democrat board members counting ballots while not allowing designated observers close enough to look at the votes on the ballots?

    Or like the article below that show duplicated ballots not being properly mark and ending up with more votes being counted than people who actually voted?

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123111967642552909.html