On Monday, the Minnesota State Canvassing Board certified Democrat Al Franken as the victor in the U.S. Senate race recount, beating incumbent Republican Norm Coleman by 225 votes. In a press conference the next day, however, Coleman rejected the Board’s ruling, vowing to wage a court battle to challenge the results. A trial will likely begin in 20 days, but “a Coleman lawyer said a decision may not be known until two months from now.”
Despite the potential for a prolonged legal battle, conservatives are urging to Coleman to fight on and promising to filibuster any Democratic attempts to seat Franken while litigation is pending. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), for instance, has said that he is solidly behind Coleman:
— “The race in Minnesota is not over,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. “It’s well-established in the Senate: The way you get sworn in and the way you get seated is to show up with an election certificate. And that is determined under Minnesota law.” [1/5/09]
“The only people who have pronounced the Minnesota Senate race over are Washington Democrats, and the candidate who is the current custodian of the most votes,” McConnell said in a written statement released Tuesday. “The people of Minnesota certainly don’t believe this is over.” [1/6/09]
It’s interesting that McConnell is willing to let an election — which has already had a recount — hang in the air for two months. After all, less than a month after the 2000 election, McConnell was already demanding that Al Gore concede to George W. Bush. McConnell’s comments to the Lexington Herald-Leader on Nov. 27, 2000:
We’ve had a count, we’ve had a recount, we’ve had a recount of the recount. It’s been three weeks since the election and it’s time for Gore to be a statesman and give it up.
Karl Rove, another person who was obviously rooting for Gore to concede, also said on Hannity and Colmes earlier this week that “Al Franken cannot unilaterally declare himself the senator from the state of Minnesota and show up in Washington.”