Franken Not About To Give Up Yet!

John A. Quayle blueoval57 at VERIZON.NET
Thu Dec 18 01:50:27 MST 2008


Free Congress Foundation Commentary: Procedural Uncertainty in the 
Minnesota Senatorial Election
By Paul M. Weyrich
December 17, 2008


I am worried that the Minnesota United States Senate race in effect will be 
run by the United States Senate. When one has been around as long as I 
have, one has seen things that seem familiar. In the 1974 New Hampshire 
election in, one of the State's two Congressmen, Louis C. Wyman, ran for 
the Senate. On election night Wyman won by 355 votes but his opponent 
demanded a recount. After all the disputed ballots were counted, Wyman's 
opponent, John Durkin, was certified the winner of the Senate seat by ten 
votes. After another recount Wyman won by two votes. Durkin appealed to the 
United States Senate, which, under Article I, Section 5, of the 
Constitution, is the final arbiter of such disputes.  The Senate Leadership 
declared the seat vacant. They told Governor Meldrim R. Thomson, Jr. to 
appoint an interim Senator. He brought back retired Senator Norris Cotton, 
paving the way for another Wyman-Durkin race. On August 8, 1975 a special 
election was held, which Durkin won. He served in the Senate until 1980.

The same scenario may happen in the Minnesota Senate race. Al Franken has 
lost the recount. He may well lose the count of disputed ballots, too, if 
the election board allows them to be counted. At that point, if Franken 
can't prevail in Federal court, he may turn to Senate Majority Leader Harry 
M. Reid (D-NV). Reid could have the Senate wade into the disputed ballots, 
as Democrats did in a disputed House seat some years ago. More likely, 
however, Reid would have the seat declared vacant, forcing Coleman and 
Franken to another election.

Democrats naturally hope to achieve a 60-40 filibuster-proof majority in 
the Senate, so it would not be surprising to see them concentrate their 
resources in Minnesota and deliver the State for Franken. As the former 
Director of the Senate Republican Conference said to me the other day, 
"Nothing could demean the Senate as an institution more than to have 
Franken as a Member." Perhaps. But that will be up to the citizens of 
Minnesota to decide. The reason Franken is so persistent and will not 
concede is because he cannot believe that all of those hundreds of 
thousands of Obama voters would not have voted for him for Senate. As it 
stands now, lots of folks did not want to support Coleman but did not care 
to vote for Franken either. If Minnesota were to require another election 
to solve the dispute the dynamics would be entirely different.



Paul M. Weyrich is Chairman and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation.
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