Coleman/Franken: More Senate chaos

By Dschabner

Jan 4, 2009 8:42pm

ABC News’ Jonathan Karl reports: It’s the other contested Senate seat …

Republicans are loudly complaining that Democrats — specifically Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Chuck Schumer of New York — have declared Al Franken the winner of the Minnesota Senate race.

The state canvassing board is expected to conclude Monday that Franken has won by 225 votes, but legal challenges continue and Gov. Tim Pawlenty won’t certify the results until those challenges run their course.

Meanwhile, Minnesota now has only one senator.  As of noon Saturday, Norm Coleman was no longer a senator — his term expired.  It’s unclear whether he will now be booted from his offices, but he has no legal standing to either his office space or his staff.

Here is the statement from Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman John Cornyn, who basically calls Schumer a hypocrite for proclaiming the uncertified Franken a senator while refusing to recognize the uncertified Roland Burris — indicted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s pick to fill Barack Obama’s vacated seat — a senator:

"While I recognize that as the Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during the 2008 elections, Senator Schumer is not ambivalent about the outcome of this election, his victory proclamation for Al Franken is troubling on at least a couple of levels.

"First, there is the matter of Minnesota law and double standards.  One can’t help but wonder why Senator Schumer believes Al Franken should be seated without an election certificate signed by both the Secretary of State and Governor, as Minnesota law requires, when that is the very reason Democratic leaders are citing for not seating Mr. Burris from Illinois.   It appears that if Senator Schumer had his way, Minnesota’s election laws would be disregarded. 

"Then, there is the pending Supreme Court case and likely election contest that will ultimately decide, consistent with Minnesota law, who won the election. Senator Schumer’s exultations are premature to say the least.  Minnesota voters’ choices must be respected and not the choices of political leaders in Washington.

"Finally, as the new Chairman of the Senate Rules and Administration Committee, which has jurisdiction over contested elections, Senator Schumer will likely play a key role in determining who ultimately assumes this Senate seat.  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."

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