Several Minnesota newspapers that endorsed Sen. Norm Coleman during last year’s campaign published editorials this week asking him to give up his challenge and allow Democratic challenger Al Franken to be seated as Minnesota’s next U.S. Senator.
Three small-market news outlets called for Coleman to throw in the towel and concede to Franken -- including two who endorsed Coleman during the election.
"It's becoming increasingly clearer that Coleman and fellow Republicans -- desperate to keep the Democrats from strengthening their power -- are pressing onward primarily for political reasons," stated a Worthington Daily Globe editorial.
That newspaper had endorsed Coleman’s bid over Franken’s candidacy prior to the November election.
So did editors of the southern Minnesota-based Albert Lea Tribune, who wrote: “Coleman is now only delaying the seating of Franken and in doing so is not servicing his staff, his financial contributors, or the people of Minnesota."
It was a stark departure for the Tribune, which last year described Coleman as “the better man” and told readers he “deserves your vote.”
And the Fairbault Daily News opined, "It's appropriate for Coleman to have challenged the recount once. But to do it again belies his stance that he's acting on behalf of the disenfranchised voter -- those whose votes were not counted. It's time for Franken to be certified."
During the campaign, the state’s largest newspaper, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, predicted a “less polarized America with Coleman” and endorsed him over Franken.
A Star-Tribune editorial on Wednesday supported Coleman’s right to an appeal, but urged that it must be quick, saying, “Coleman’s rights stand in increasingly evident tension with Minnesota's constitutional right to dual representation in the U.S. Senate.”
The wavering support for Coleman’s ongoing legal challenge highlights the potential political cost to Coleman, and possibly to Minnesota GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty, as the post-election struggle continues to drag on.
Despite the fact that Election Day ended with Coleman unofficially leading Franken by over 700 votes, Franken later surged into the lead during the statewide recount process. A three-judge panel has ruled that Franken won the election by 312 votes.
Coleman’s attorneys are expected to appeal the panel’s ruling to the Minnesota Supreme Court early next week. Coleman’s legal team has suggested it may continue its appeals all the way to the U.S Supreme Court.
In a Thursday meeting with the Star-Tribune’s editorial board, Coleman remarked, “I think the law is on our side.”
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