David Kirkpatrick

June 30, 2009

Franken declared winner

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:05 pm

In a move that should have happened long ago, Al Franken has finally been declared winner of the Minnesota Senate seat up for grabs last year. In carrying on his losing fight for the seat Norm Coleman probably shredded his political future in Minnesota and Governor Tim Pawlenty did likewise.

It has been guessed that Pawlenty was doing some major water carrying for the national GOP to keep an extra Democrat out of the Senate chambers for an extra few months in exchange for remaining a national player. The Franken saga is so ridicoulous, and such a smear on what most Americans consider our democratic process Pawlenty has most likely permanently sullied his political future as well.

From the link:

The unanimous decision was released after a seven-months long battle over the seat formerly held by Norm Coleman.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty had indicated as late as Monday that he was willing to certify Mr. Franken as the winner once the state’s highest court decided the recount and Mr. Coleman’s battle. On CNN on Sunday, Mr. Pawlenty said: “I’m prepared to sign it as soon as they give the green light.”

As long as Mr. Coleman contests this no further, Mr. Franken will become the Democrats’ much coveted 60th vote. That is the number required to avert filibusters, and with both Senators Edward M. Kennedy and Robert C. Byrd absent due to illness, the Democrats have sometimes scrambled to make sure they had lined up enough votes.

April 28, 2009

GOP rump happy to lose senate seat

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:49 pm

Nothing from the bitter fringe of what used to be the Grand Old Party — and is now pretty much old, cranky folks who don’t even understand the meaning of political conservatism — would surprise me at this point.

The overall reaction to Arlen Specter switching sides of the aisle? Happy to see that backstabbing RINO go.

Never mind he gives the Democrats a filibuster-proof Senate majority, and a full 60 vote majority as soon as Franken is seated from Minnesota. And for anyone who doesn’t get that yet, Franken won. Coleman is spinning his wheels, but he’s not getting that Senate seat. Not by the courts, and certainly not by a new election now that that Minnesota public really, really dislikes him.

David Frum laments the loss of Specter, but check out the comments at NewMajority on his post. This is GREAT day for the Republican Party! Er, folks, not so much.

From the link (and do scroll down to the comments):

The Specter defection is too severe a catastrophe to qualify as a “wake-up call.” His defection is the thing we needed the wake-up call to warn us against! For a long time, the loudest and most powerful voices in the conservative world have told us that people like Specter aren’t real Republicans – that they don’t belong in the party. Now he’s gone, and with him the last Republican leverage within any of the elected branches of government.

For years, many in the conservative world have wished for an ideologically purer GOP. Their wish has been granted. Happy?

Let’s take this moment to nail some colors to the mast. I submit it is better for conservatives to have 60% sway within a majority party than to have 100% control of a minority party. And until and unless there is an honored place made in the Republican party for people who think like Arlen Specter, we will remain a minority party.

Here’s one sample comment from “conservative08:”

Good riddance to this clown. And any other “Republicans” that vote like moderate Democrats. These out of touch, crusty beltway types are exactly the reason Republicans have lost the past two elections.

Someone who voted for a trillion dollar stimulus package is somehow the answer for a Republican resurgence? Give me a break.

He’s a joke. And so are so many of the other losers who have spent like Democrats. Bye.

Um, spent like Democrats? How about Bush 43’s eight years of fiscal conservatism. Oh yeah, that didn’t happen and practically no one on the right let out one tiny peep in protest over the entire two terms. Hypocrisy is ugly, and very sad coming from a dying political party.

April 14, 2009

Franken to be next Minnesota senator

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:42 pm

Norm Coleman has lost yet another court battle. He won’t be a senator for Minnesota, but he’s continuing his tilting at windmillsto prevent Al Franken from being seated.

Not sure what he’s up to here, unless he’s following orders from the national party to keep one more Democratic senator out of the chambers for a little while longer. From what I’ve read Coleman has completely burned all his bridges in Minnesota, among the general population and with the state’s GOP. Governor Tim Pawlenty is probably seriously harming his reelection hopes as well by not certifying the election.

From the link:

A three-judge state panel Monday declared Al Franken, a Democrat, the victor in a Senate race here that has dragged Minnesota through prolonged litigation and recounts. The panel dismissed a challenge by Norm Coleman, the Republican who had held the seat, to a count that left the two men separated by 312 votes out of nearly 3 million cast.

“I would call on Senator Coleman to allow me to get to work as soon as possible,” Mr. Franken said after the ruling.

But that seems unlikely. Lawyers for Mr. Coleman immediately announced that they would appeal the decision to the state’s highest court.

The promise of additional litigation means that Minnesota could go without a second senator for weeks, and potentially months, before a victor is certified in the race.

January 6, 2009

Nate Silver fisks the WSJ editorial board

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:54 am

And does an epic takedown.

FiveThirtyEight is becoming a post-election must read for political junkies. It absolutely was during the election for the incredibly prescient projections on the elections this year.

Now that the election is done they’re cleaning up the loose ends — such as the Coleman/Franken recount in Minnesota, and as it happens the subject of the fisked op-ed –and branching out into politics beyond polling, statistics and elections.

Naturally, this sort of analysis betrays the pretty strong lean to the left, but whatever your personal leanings, not reading this for ideological reasons is silly. These guys are just doing great work right now.

From the first link:

Mr. Franken started the recount 215 votes behind Senator Coleman, but he now claims a 225-vote lead and suddenly the man who was insisting on “counting every vote” wants to shut the process down. He’s getting help from Mr. Ritchie and his four fellow Canvassing Board members, who have delivered inconsistent rulings and are ignoring glaring problems with the tallies.

Actually, Coleman is having far more trouble with the Minnesota Supreme Court, which generally has a conservative reputation, than he is with the Canvassing Board. They’re the ones who rejected his petition on duplicate ballots, and they’re the ones who rejected his notion of wanting to tack on additional ballots to the absentee ballot counting.

Under Minnesota law, election officials are required to make a duplicate ballot if the original is damaged during Election Night counting. Officials are supposed to mark these as “duplicate” and segregate the original ballots. But it appears some officials may have failed to mark ballots as duplicates, which are now being counted in addition to the originals. This helps explain why more than 25 precincts now have more ballots than voters who signed in to vote. By some estimates this double counting has yielded Mr. Franken an additional 80 to 100 votes.

There are 25 precincts with more ballots than voters? I’m not sure this is actually true. There were certain precincts with more votes counted during the recount than there were on Election Night — which is not surprising, considering that the whole purpose of a hand recount is to find votes that the machine scanners missed the first time around. I have not seen any evidence, on the other hand, that there are precincts with more votes than voters as recorded on sign-in sheets. And the Coleman campaign evidently hasn’t either, or it presumably would have presented it to the Court, which rejected its petition for lack of evidence.

Also, note the weasel-wordy phrase “by some estimates”, which translates as “by the Coleman campaign’s estimate”. There is no intrinsic reason why Franken ballots are more likely to be duplicated than Coleman ballots, especially when one significant source of duplicate ballots is military absentees, a group that presumably favors the Republicans. Coleman, indeed, only became interested in the issue of duplicates once he fell behind in the recount and needed some way to extend his clock. Before then, his lead attorney had sent an e-mail to Franken which said that challenges on the issue of duplicate ballots were “groundless and frivolous”.

January 5, 2009

Franken will be anounced as Minnesota Senator

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:03 am

Breaking news here in the middle of the night — in a serious blow to any hope for Norm Coleman’s campaign, the Minnesota Canvassing Board will announce Democrat Al Franken as the victor in the drawn-out recount.

From the link:

The board was to meet Monday and was expected to declare which candidate received the most overall votes from nearly 3 million ballots cast. The latest numbers showed Franken, a Democrat, with a 225-vote lead over Republican Sen. Norm Coleman.

But after the announcement, there will be a seven-day waiting period before an election certificate is completed. If any lawsuits are filed during that waiting period, certification is conditional until the issue is settled in court.

Coleman, who led Franken on election night, hasn’t ruled out a lawsuit challenging the results, claiming there were irregularities that gave Franken an unfair advantage.

The Coleman campaign also has a petition pending before the state Supreme Court to include 650 ballots that it says were improperly rejected but not forwarded by local officials to St. Paul for counting.

December 19, 2008

Looks like Al Franken will win Minnesota

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:38 pm

When your strategy during the entire recount process is little more than weak challenges and constant court petitions, I’d say the goose has been cooked for a long time and everyone knows it.

From the 538 link:

The Coleman campaign is back to court, this time filing a petition with the Minnesota Supreme Court that seeks to prevent Minnesota’s Canvassing Board from certifying the results of its recount until an issue with what it claims to be duplicate ballots is resolved. In addition, Coleman requests that the court mandate that the individual precincts double-check for potential duplicate ballots in conjunction with their court-ordered review of rejected absentee ballots, which is set to proceed between now and December 31.