Norm Coleman: 'I do expect to win'
David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
Published: Friday April 3, 2009

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During a very sympathetic sit-down with Fox & Friends on Friday morning, Senator Norm Coleman (R-MN) denied seemingly all current judicial realities in his still-ongoing electoral dispute with Democrat Al Franken.

Vowing an appeal all the way up to the Supreme Court, Coleman told the hosts, "I do expect to win."

Now approaching its fourth month, the electoral dispute between Coleman and former comedian and radio host Al Franken appears to have been swung in Franken's favor by recent judicial decisions. Coleman's attorneys even predicted he'd be dealt a loss in Minnesota court.

"Are you confident you're going to lose the case in front of the three-judge panel? What I mean by lose is Norm ends up with less votes?," a local radio host asked Joe Friedberg, one of Coleman's attorneys.

"I think that's probably correct, that Franken will still be ahead and probably by a little bit more," said Friedberg.

On March 31, Friedberg's prediction came true, mostly, with mainstream media proclaiming a court's decision that morning "cripples" Coleman's efforts.

"Taking a hard line, three judges hearing Colemanís lawsuit ordered further review of 400 unopened absentee ballots in the race, far fewer than the former Republican senator had asked be counted," reported the Boston Herald.

"Within two hours of the ruling, Coleman attorney Ben Ginsberg warned of an appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. Ginsberg argued that the special courtís ruling tolerated differing standards from county to county between the general election and the recount. He said the small universe of remaining ballots makes it difficult for Coleman to erase Franken's current 225-vote lead."

"The court noted that, at the start of the contest, Coleman 'argued that close to 5,000 absentee ballots should be opened and counted,'" reported Brad Friedman and Ernest A. Canning, in a Bradblog analysis. "Colemanís claim was voluntarily reduced following prior court rulings requiring 'individualized evidence' that each ballot was lawfully cast. By the close of trial Coleman identified 1,360 unopened absentee ballots he contended were lawfully cast. Franken identified 430.

"The order does not specify how many of the 400 ballots to be opened and counted came from Frankenís list and how many came from Colemanís. However, referring to Colemanís 1,300, the court stated: 'This number, however, was contingent upon the court making certain presumptions regarding whether an absentee ballot was cast.' The court proceeded to reject those presumptions, reiterating the individualized standards required before an absentee ballot can be ordered open and counted, to wit: a) that the voter was registered; b) that the individual who cast the absentee ballot did not otherwise vote; c) that the voter submitted an absentee ballot application; d) that the voter completed and signed the absentee ballot envelope; e) that the voter's absentee ballot was witnessed by a registered MN voter or notary. Since individualized evidence came primarily from the Franken legal team, it seems doubtful that more than a handful of the 400 were reviewed at Colemanís request."

The court did not say when exactly it would return with a full count of the 400 ballots, but Coleman seems to have already prepared his continuing legal strategy.

"We're prepared to go to the Supreme Court in the next, uh ... When the three judge panel finishes its work," he told the hosts on Thursday morning. "This isn't over. I do expect to win when all the votes are counted.

"Washington doesn't need more anger today," Coleman said at the conclusion of his friendly Fox interview. "It doesn't need more division. We've got the biggest challenges I've seen in 32 years of public service. In all lifetimes, in all lifetimes.

"Listen, to me it was clear: I could provide the kind of leadership Al Franken couldn't. The voters have voted. Let's get all the votes counted and when they're done I'm still confident we'll win."

This video is from Fox's Fox & Friends, broadcast Apr. 3, 2009.

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