Al Franken expected to be announced the winner of Minnesota Senate race


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This brings the Democrats' total in the U.S. Senate up to 59.

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MINNEAPOLIS – The state Canvassing Board was poised to certify the results of the recount in Minnesota's grueling Senate election in Al Franken's favor — but that doesn't mean the race is definitely over.

The board was to meet Monday and was expected to declare which candidate received the most overall votes from nearly 3 million ballots cast. The latest numbers showed Franken, a Democrat, with a 225-vote lead over Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, who led Franken on election night.

But after the announcement, there will be a seven-day waiting period before an election certificate is completed. If any lawsuits are filed during that waiting period, certification is conditional until the issue is settled in court.

Lawyers for both campaigns have laid the groundwork for lawsuits through public comments and legal maneuvering. In recent weeks, as Franken clung to a small lead, Coleman's lawyers promised a lawsuit over their claim that some ballots duplicated on election night wound up being counted twice in the recount.

The Coleman campaign also has a petition pending before the state Supreme Court to include 650 ballots that it says were improperly rejected but not forwarded by local officials to St. Paul for counting.

The court has not said when it would rule in that case.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer, who until recently was the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Sunday that Franken had won the election.

"While there are still possible legal issues that will run their course, there is no longer any doubt who will be the next Senator from Minnesota," Schumer said. "With the Senate set to begin meeting on Tuesday to address the important issues facing the nation, it is crucial that Minnesota's seat not remain empty, and I hope this process will resolve itself as soon as possible."

Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called Schumer's comments premature and troubling, since Schumer is the new chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, which has jurisdiction over contested elections.

"Senator Schumer will likely play a key role in determining who ultimately assumes this Senate seat," Cornyn said. "Pre-judging the outcome while litigation is still pending calls into question his ability to impartially preside over this matter when it comes before the Committee, as it most certainly will."

Coleman's term as senator officially expired Saturday.

Senate Republican leaders have said the chamber shouldn't seat Franken until all legal matters are settled, even if that drags on for months.

Franken campaign spokesman Andy Barr said in an e-mail Sunday: "In terms of future planning, we're taking it one step at a time. The next step is the canvass board's meeting tomorrow, where we have every expectation they will declare that Al won the election."


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Franken is the GOP's Public Enemy #1

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With only a longshot court appeal standing in the way of Democrat Al Franken’s election to the Senate, Republicans are gritting their teeth and bracing for the arrival of a new senator whose every utterance will sound like nails on a chalkboard to them.

While Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) has filed suit to contest the results of a disputed recount process that turned his narrow lead into a 225-vote deficit, his likely defeat stands to turn Franken, the polarizing former “Saturday Night Live” writer, into the senator who launched a thousand direct mail fundraising appeals.

“I don’t know if we’ve ever had an opponent who is so disliked by Republicans as Al Franken,” said Minnesota Republican Party Chair Ron Carey, who cautioned that Coleman’s election challenge could still turn the results back his way. “It’s one thing to lose to an honorable opponent, but Al Franken is not considered an honorable opponent by Minnesota Republicans.”

Marty Seifert, the Republican leader in the Minnesota House of Representatives, said Franken’s long record of antagonizing conservatives would make it difficult for him to connect with voters who supported Coleman.

“It’s going to be hard for Franken to be very effective with any Republicans, in terms of having any credibility with us, just because he’s been so nasty in the past,” Seifert said. “He certainly has callous and very partisan behavior in the past that is beyond the pale.”

According to Carleton College political scientist Steven Schier, Franken’s record as a “flamboyant and aggressive partisan” would make him ripe for criticism back home.

“I think it’s impossible to overstate the hostility Minnesota Republicans feel toward Al Franken,” Schier said. “He will be a very useful fundraising tool.”

Republicans outside Minnesota are equally apoplectic when it comes to Franken. Prominent conservative Rush Limbaugh, who Franken mocked in the title of one of his books, has already jabbed Franken on his radio show, telling listeners in December that Franken “won’t quit [the Senate race] because he doesn’t know how to get a real job…He’s a pathetic figure.”

Democrats are hopeful that the resentment Franken faces from Republicans both within and outside of his home state will not impede his ability to win over his constituents – and his fellow members of the U.S. Senate. They believe that by leaving behind his past as a bomb-throwing entertainer and focusing on issues, he will earn the respect of colleagues and can build on the 42 percent of the vote he won in November.

“Every freshman senator will have a problem fitting in with that crew, but his will be a little more difficult,” said former Minnesota Attorney General Mike Hatch, who was the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party’s nominee for governor in 2006.

Hatch, who served as attorney general during the gubernatorial term of former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura, said celebrity candidates can’t take the habits of their old jobs with them into office.

“There is this instinct and discipline of 20 or 30 years in the entertainment business…to draw attention,” Hatch said. “He has to have a filter.”

Polling results this week confirmed Franken's precarious position: more Minnesotans have a negative impression of him than a positive one, by a 45 percent to 37 percent margin. Those would be dismal numbers under any circumstances, but for a newly-elected senator they would be particularly alarming.

Matt Entenza, the former DFL Party leader in the Minnesota House, said Franken had defied expectations in the Senate race by restraining his sense of humor and campaigning as a sober workhorse.

“The struggle for the campaign was always trying to communicate that he was a serious guy, and in some ways I think they toned him down almost too much, tried to be almost too serious,” he explained. “You would see local TV anchors giving him questions that were designed to give him an opportunity for a humorous response. He would give a very serious, wonkish policy response.”

Former DFL Sen. Mark Dayton agreed: “He had to show people that he was really serious about issues, that he had a depth of policy understanding.”

It’s not just Democrats who expect Franken, the author of “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right,” will chart a different course in the Senate.

Tim Penny, a former DFL congressman who joined the Minnesota Independence Party to run for governor in 2002, said he expected Franken to be hyper-cautious about reviving concerns about his past career as a comedian and political provocateur.

“I expect that on Capitol Hill he will be a very serious legislator – almost to the extreme,” Penny said.

“I think he’s very determined to separate himself from that image of being nothing but a comedian,” he continued. “I doubt he’ll be accepting very many speaking engagements around the country, and to the extent that he does, I don’t think they’ll get the comedian they’re expecting.”

While Franken’s allies in Minnesota are optimistic about his ability to temper his style to one that is more suited to the Senate, Republicans say self-restraint may not come so easily to such an experienced performer.

“If he was in the U.S. Senate, would there be any professional decorum he could exhibit?” asked Carey, the GOP chairman. “Would he be able to control himself?”

Indeed, at the height of the campaign, even as he was locked in the political equivalent of mortal combat with Coleman, Franken couldn’t quite resist the comedic impulse, consulting on a “Saturday Night Live” skit mocking Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in late September.

“I think that he’ll have a constant battle between the desire for – how shall I put it? – comedic satisfaction and a senatorial image,” said Schier. “Can he help himself? Can he prevent himself from trying to be funny in a controversial way?”

And though Franken may have tried to project a serious image on the campaign trail, he struggled to escape his record as a performer, and some of his more off-color writings wound up in Republican press releases and advertisements.

In May, the Minnesota Republican Party drew attention to an article Franken wrote for Playboy in 2000, titled “Porn-o-Rama!”, charging that it represented “the disrespectful writings of a nearly 50-year-old man who seems to think that women’s bodies are the domain of a man who just wants to have a good time.”

Later in the race, a Coleman ad criticized Franken for writing “tasteless, sexist jokes,” “juicy porn” and “foul-mouthed attacks on anyone he disagrees with.”

The attacks apparently stuck, at least with Republicans. Republican activist Joe Repya, a retired military officer who considered running against Coleman in the GOP primary, said Franken is “viewed by both sides as a mean-spirited, carpet-bagging, foul-mouthed sexist supported by Hollywood money.”

“Franken, to his credit, was able to make enough people believe that he was only a comedian and that his skits and writings didn’t really show his real self,” Repya said.

In addition to his background as a comedian, Penny said Franken could turn out to be a senator whose voting record proves out of the Minnesota political mainstream.

“He will be a very reliable, 90-plus percent vote for the Democratic leadership,” Penny said, suggesting Franken would be “down the line, in synch with the Democratic interest groups.”

With heated criticism likely to come Franken’s way throughout a term in the Senate, Dayton suggested one way Franken’s former career could come in handy.

“I hope he retains a sense of humor,” Dayton said. “A sense of humor is a valuable asset in politics in general, and in the Senate.”

He quickly added: “In the right context.”


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Felons Put Al Franken Over The Top

Felons Voting Illegally May Have Put Franken Over the Top in Minnesota, Study Finds



A study finds that at least 341 convicted felons voted illegally in the election that made former "Saturday Night Live" comedian Al Franken a U.S. senator in 2008.

The six-month election recount that turned former "Saturday Night Live" comedian Al Franken into a U.S. senator may have been decided by convicted felons who voted illegally in Minnesota's Twin Cities.
That's the finding of an 18-month study conducted by Minnesota Majority, a conservative watchdog group, which found that at least 341 convicted felons in largely Democratic Minneapolis-St. Paul voted illegally in the 2008 Senate race between Franken, a Democrat, and his Republican opponent, then-incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman.

The final recount vote in the race, determined six months after Election Day, showed Franken beat Coleman by 312 votes -- fewer votes than the number of felons whose illegal ballots were counted, according to Minnesota Majority's newly released study, which matched publicly available conviction lists with voting records.

Furthermore, the report charges that efforts to get state and federal authorities to act on its findings have been "stonewalled."
"We aren't trying to change the result of the last election. That legally can't be done," said Dan McGrath, Minnesota Majority's executive director. "We are just trying to make sure the integrity of the next election isn't compromised."

He said his group was largely ignored when it turned over a list of hundreds of names to prosecutors in two of the state's largest counties, Ramsey and Hennepin, where fraud seemed to be the greatest.
A spokesman for both county attorneys' offices belittled the information, saying it was "just plain wrong" and full of errors, which prompted the group to go back and start an in-depth look at the records.
"What we did this time is irrefutable," McGrath said. "We took the voting lists and matched them with conviction lists and then went back to the records and found the roster lists, where voters sign in before walking to the voting booth, and matched them by hand.

"The only way we can be wrong is if someone with the same first, middle and last names, same year of birth as the felon, and living in the same community, has voted. And that isn't very likely."

The report said that in Hennepin County, which in includes Minneapolis, 899 suspected felons had been matched on the county's voting records, and the review showed 289 voters were conclusively matched to felon records. The report says only three people in the county have been charged with voter fraud so far.

A representative of the Hennepin County attorney's office, who declined to give her name, said "there was no one in the office today to talk about the charges."

But the report got a far different review in Ramsey County, which contains St. Paul. Phil Carruthers of the Ramsey County attorney's office said his agency had taken the charges "very seriously" and found that the Minnesota Majority "had done a good job in their review."

The report says that in Ramsey, 460 names on voting records were matched with felon lists, and a further review found 52 were conclusive matches.

Carruthers attributed differences in the numbers to Minnesota Majority's lack of access to nonpublic information, such as exact birth dates and other court records. For example, he said, "public records might show a felon was given 10 years probation, but internal records the county attorney has might show that the probation period was cut to five and the felon was eligible to vote."
Carruthers said Ramsey County is still investigating all the names and has asked that 15 investigators be hired to complete the process. "So far we have charged 28 people with felonies, have 17 more under review and have 182 cases still open," he said. "And there is a good chance we may match or even exceed their numbers."

McGrath says the report shows that more still has to be done.

"Prosecutors have to act more swiftly in prosecuting cases from the 2008 election to deter fraud in the future," he said, "and the state has to make sure that existing system, that flags convicted felons so voting officials can challenge them at the ballot, is effective. In 90 percent of the cases we looked at, the felons weren't flagged."

"If the state had done that," he said, "things might be very different today." - Felons Voting Illegally May Have Put Franken Over the Top in Minnesota, Study Finds


Tool Maker
And with that, there was another Senate Democrat vote that went to Obamacare. How many other fraudulent votes have there been placed at the disposal of those seeking to dismantle this nation?

This is how it ends. Not with a battle, but with fraud.


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Felons Voting Illegally May Have Put Franken Over the Top in Minnesota, Study Finds...
I must admit I'm surprised. I thought it was manufactured votes mysteriously appearing in back rooms and trunks of cars!


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