Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) threatened Friday to filibuster any attempt to seat Democratic Minnesota Senate candidate Al Franken next week.The new National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) chairman said he had not whipped votes in the GOP caucus, but added that he could not imagine any members defecting and seating Franken without a certificate of election.
Franken will not have that certificate as long as the election is challenged in the courts — a likely scenario, with Sen. Norm Coleman’s (R-Minn.) legal team already attacking the credibility of the recount process.
“This is a very, very serious matter,” Cornyn said. “I can assure you that there will be no way that people on our side of the aisle will agree to seat any senator without a valid certificate.”
Some have suggested that Franken could be seated provisionally, which would allow for any court challenges to play out and potentially change the outcome.
But since Minnesota state law won’t provide Franken a certificate of election with an election contest pending, seating Franken could be a risky and difficult proposition.
Franken leads the race by 49 votes with all challenged ballots resolved, but Coleman’s campaign is attempting to include about 650 improperly rejected absentee ballots from areas friendly to the incumbent.
That would be on top of about 1,350 improperly rejected absentees already designated by recount officials.
Beyond that, Coleman is expected to take up a legal challenge to the result.
Cornyn, a former Texas Supreme Court judge, suggested Friday that the case could go to the Minnesota Supreme Court or beyond.
“I think it is very clear that the people of Minnesota and the courts in Minnesota should make the decision about who won the Minnesota Senate election, and not political leaders in Washington, D.C.,” Cornyn said. “That process is ongoing and will not be resolved, in all likelihood, for weeks and maybe longer.”