Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Schumer: Franken is the winner

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the just-departed chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, declared Sunday that Al Franken has won the Minnesota Senate recount against Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.).

“With the Minnesota recount complete, it is now clear that Al Franken won the election. The Canvassing Board will meet tomorrow to wrap up its work and certify him the winner, and 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 in a statement.

Franken leads Coleman by 225 votes, with all ballots recounted. Minnesota’s Canvassing Board is scheduled to declare Franken the winner on Monday. The Coleman campaign, however, has filed a lawsuit with the state Supreme Court requesting that over 600 absentee ballots be added to the count that it believes were unfairly rejected.

The Coleman campaign has also signaled it will be contesting the election result in court, arguing that some ballots were counted twice during the recount. If Coleman’s campaign contested the results, Franken would not be certified as the official winner until all the legal challenges are resolved.

Sen. John Cornyn, the incoming chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has said Republicans will block seating Franken in the Senate until a winner has been officially certified.

But Schumer suggested he has little patience for a protracted legal challenge.

“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,” Schumer said.

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