The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

50° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Time for Coleman to Throw in the Towel

“We shall never surrender!” This famous line is attributed to senate candidate Norm Coleman, refusing to concede the Minnesota Senate race. Or maybe that was Winston Churchill, during WWII… Who knows? In perhaps the only instance when these two men could ever be confused for one another, Coleman has made it clear that he will not back down under any circumstance. Even if he gets fewer votes.

The first Tuesday following the first Monday of November is long past, May is fast-approaching, and Minnesota still only has one senator. It’s now apparent that the disputed race between Democrat challenger Al Franken and Republican incumbent Norm Coleman will not be decided until the summer months, due to a subtle court victory for Coleman which pushes the schedule for hearing arguments on the case in the Minnesota Supreme Court to June 1st.

The Coleman-Franken dispute continues even after Coleman’s loss per a decision by the Minnesota State Canvassing Board, which found all of Coleman’s calls for recounts and the counting of absentee ballots to be without foundation.

As Churchill encourages, Coleman is fighting on, taking the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court and if he doesn’t succeed there, he vows to take it to the federal Supreme Court level despite the calls for Coleman to close up shop. Meanwhile, Franken has suggested that the US Senate, rather than the courts, use its Constitutionally-authorized power to judge the elections of Senate members.

Although most of the calls for Coleman to quit are coming from the left, Minnesotans from both sides are fed up with this long, drawn-out election.

Dennis Sanders, who voted for Coleman, blogs that even he believes it is time for the flag to be thrown in.

“Coleman should drop out with honor while he still has some,” writes Sanders. “After nearly six months, the people of Minnesota want this election resolved.”

Evidently, Coleman is not one of those people, and the costs are piling up. The cost of the recount has hit $12 million for the people of Minnesota. Supporters of both Franken and Coleman are tapping into all possible fundraising outlets to keep up the pressure on the opposing side and maintain expenses for the continuing litigation. Each side is playing off of the anger this race has conjured up along party lines to raise more money.

Still it remains unlikely that Coleman could conceivably win the seat. Even if he were to somehow pull ahead of Franken in the recounts, the Democratic backlash would be vicious.

So why continue?

It’s clear Coleman can’t come to terms with the fact that he is no longer a U.S. senator. So perhaps he is stalling, banking on a last minute miracle. Or maybe it is a party stunt to rile up Republicans against what could be a perceived slight in favor of the Democrats and Coleman. It might just be a ploy to keep another Democrat out of Congress for as long as possible. Or maybe Coleman just can’t get that Churchill quote out of his head.

Unfortunately in democratic elections someone has to lose-a flaw in the system is how Coleman might describe it. No one might consider this a big deal because what do U.S. senators do anyway? Besides cutting off businessmen mid-sentence during hearings and appearing on afternoon TV shows, that is. But the state of Minnesota is being deprived a senator as Coleman continues to chase this increasingly futile senate bid.

This is not to suggest that depriving Minnesota of Al Franken, the former Saturday Night Live comedian turned pundit turned politician, is a particularly bad thing, but some are interested to see his efforts as a senator. Namely all those people who voted for him.

The thing that will probably put an end to the Coleman campaign is money. According to Nate Silver, a blogger for FiveThirtyEight, the legal fights for Coleman are costing him approximately $20,740 a day and $145,181 a week, and Coleman has not demonstrated the potential to raise money at the same clip that Franken can.

No doubt even the legendary British Prime Minister would bow out of this one by now.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Statesman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Statesman

Comments (0)

All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *