Al Franken won a round (I’d say the 11th round but it has to be something more akin to 3,000) in his quest to be seated as Minnesota’s next senator. A Minnesota court ruled that upwards of 400 absentee ballots could be opened and counted next Tuesday. Franken currently holds a 225-vote lead. The number of ballots to be opened is down from the more than 4,000 originally demanded by the Coleman campaign and not all of the 400 may be counted as some may still be deemed ineligible once opened.
“You never give up hope but it’s a much longer shot, akin to you winning your NCAA bracket pool at this point,” Coleman campaign lawyer Ben Ginsberg said on a conference call, mocking the reporter who asked if he believed that Coleman had a shot of winning more than 225 of the 400 ballots. “There’ll still be a final opinion and it is conceivable that there may be other things that happen, but if this is the universe of ballots, there’s still a mathematical possibility, but it’s less.”
Ginsberg said they intend to appeal the unanimous decision by a panel of three judges – once of which was appointed by a Republican governor. “We fundamentally disagree with them and that’s why there’re appellate courts,” Ginsberg said. “We’re going to appeal.”
The Franken campaign, in a conference call just before the Coleman call, stopped short of declaring victory but remained “extremely pleased” with the court ruling. “Obviously the math becomes increasingly difficult,” said Mark Elias, Franken’s general counsel. “It’s a win for the people of Minnesota.”
Still, a definitive win may yet be weeks away if Coleman does appeal. And, may I just say, hearing Ben Ginsberg talk about Supreme Court appeals gave me déjà vu goosebumps.
A statement from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid indicating he’ll wait for the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision:
“Sen. Reid is looking forward to the final resolution of this case by the Minnesota courts so that Al Franken can finally be seated as the new senator from Minnesota.”