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MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) — A state election board on Monday will announce Democrat Al Franken has defeated Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race, state officials told CNN Sunday.

A board will say Al Franken won the U.S. Senate race by 225 votes, Minnesota's secretary of state says.

A board will say Al Franken won the U.S. Senate race by 225 votes, Minnesota’s secretary of state says.

The canvassing board on Monday will say a recount determined Franken won by 225 votes, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie told CNN.

However, Coleman’s campaign, which contends the recount should have included about 650 absentee ballots it says were improperly rejected in the initial count, has indicated it will challenge the certification.

Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan said his team believes the recount process was broken and that “the numbers being reported will not be accurate or valid.”

“The effort by the Franken campaign, supported by the secretary of state, to exclude improperly rejected absentee ballots is indefensible and disenfranchises hundreds of Minnesota voters,” Sheehan said.

After the results are certified, Coleman’s campaign will have seven days to file a challenge.

The initial count from the November 4 election put Coleman, a first-term senator, 215 votes ahead of Franken — known for his stint on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and as a former talk-show host on progressive radio network Air America.

The slim margin triggered an automatic recount.

During the recount, Franken’s campaign alleged that thousands of absentee ballots had been improperly rejected and asked that they be counted. The state’s Supreme Court eventually ordered that rejected absentee ballots be counted if local officials and each campaign could agree that the selected ballots were rejected mistakenly.

About 950 initially rejected absentee ballots were counted Saturday after all parties agreed on them. However, Coleman’s campaign said about 650 other rejected absentee ballots — many of them from pro-Coleman areas — also were improperly rejected and should have been counted.

The Coleman campaign has also alleged that more than 100 ballots may have been accidentally counted twice and may have unfairly benefited Franken.

“When a candidate is leading because of double counted votes, and votes that get counted even when ballots don’t exist, it clearly means that a [post-election challenge] is the only likely remedy to ensure a fair outcome,” Sheehan said.

Franken’s attorney, Marc Elias, in a statement said: “The next step is the canvass board’s meeting tomorrow, where we have every expectation they will declare that Al Franken won this election.”

Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann, who oversaw Saturday’s tallying of the 950 improperly rejected absentee ballots, said the only thing left for the canvassing board to do Monday is certify the numbers. The board’s meeting will convene at 2:30 p.m.

“Candidates may have objections or suggestions or comments that they want to make,” Gelbmann said. “I would assume the canvassing board will allow that as long as they’re brief.”

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York and chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, issued a statement Sunday declaring Franken the winner and expressing confidence Franken would remain on top following any legal battle.

“There is no longer any doubt who will be the next senator from Minnesota,” Schumer said. “Even if all the ballots Coleman claims were double counted or erroneously added were resolved in his favor, he still wouldn’t have enough votes to win.”

Schumer also said it is “crucial” Minnesota’s second seat in the Senate not go empty, implying Franken should be seated when the rest of the Senate convenes to be sworn in Tuesday.

Minnesota’s other seat is held by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has pledged a GOP filibuster if the Democrat-controlled Senate attempts to seat Franken before all legal battles play out and before Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, can co-sign the secretary of state’s certificate.

Ritchie said the state has no problem with not having two sworn-in senators Tuesday until the process is completed

I’m sad to see Joyce Moran leave the Morrison County Record, sad and maybe a little dismayed. For the short time I worked at the Record Joyce was one of my supervising editors and I appreciated the qualities she brought to the Record. While my other editor was busy sanitizing everything I wrote to make local officials look good sponging out direct quotes from public meeting that he didn’t want the public to read, it was Joyce who ultimately went to bat to retain the integrity of stories that were published. 

With Joyce Moran gone maybe Tom West can just turn the paper over to the GOP make a few minor changes in their lit pieces and add his name to it …errr, or did he already do that?

Silly,

Olive Rockfish

Not just any lunar eclipse refracted light will turn the Moon a dusky red and tonight there will be a rare bonus, Saturn will be visible, for those of us in North America. The ringed planet will be 3.5 degrees above and to the left of the moon’s center at midtotality. At the same moment, the bright bluish star Regulus will sit just 2.8 degrees above and to the right of the moon. This double event will be the only one of its kind occurring within the next millennium!

Image Display


Happy Mooning!

WordPress recently listed blogs that have gained the most popularity recently and Morrison County based Fish Wrap ranked number 21 among English language sites. Who knew.

Update: February 4, 2007 – slipped to number 40.

Okay, so it only lasted for 24 hours.  We had fun basking in the sun.

 Bubbling Brooke Trout

While the Morrison County Record has the words “Morrison” and “county” in its title, in the past, the newspaper hasn’t always appeared to cover the whole of the county with the fervor it has used in covering the news of Little Falls.  Remember when Pierz and Royalton news appeared in Section B, as though it was no more than an afterthought?  When ECM Publishers took over the paper, that changed and news from other communities around the county began to be featured in Section A.  It was a much-needed improvement, imho.  In this week’s Record, the main article on the front page is called, “County leaders share their 2008 resolutions.”  I was half expecting the old Record as I began to read it, thinking the article would feature mostly Little Falls leaders.  The Rec surprised me though, starting its article with the resolutions of Motley’s Bob Jenkins.  The paper covered the resolutions of leaders from Randall, Pierz, and Royalton.  Don’t worry, the Little Falls folks weren’t forgotten.  More of them were reported on than from the other areas, but still, the Rec is making some progress in evening out the coverage.

My tail is just as important as my dorsal fin,

Phineas F. A. Pickerel

Scrap…Toss…Scrap…Toss…Scrap…Toss…Scrap…Toss…Scrap…Toss…Scrap…Toss…Scrap…Toss…

There was a letter to the editor in this week’s Morrison County Record from the second graders at Dr. S. G. Knight Elementary School in Randall, Minnesota.  The kids are asking for help in saving the planet.  They suggest ways to cut down on the consumption of electricity, especially during the upcoming Christmas season.

The thing you have to know about Dr. S. G. Knight Elementary is that it has a school-wide attitude of feistiness.  The teachers are creative and find inexpensive and innovative ways to educate the students.  The school feels like a cohesive community, a big family where everyone knows everyone else and they all look out for each other.  It’s a great place to have your kids educated.

If the Dr. Knight second graders have decided to lick global warming and pollution, I have no doubt that they’ll make some serious headway on the issue.

No longer stringing lights on the seaweed,

Phineas F. A. Pickerel

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