Minnesota Gov. Pawlenty Suggests Fraud In Franken-Coleman Election Result

Franken and Norm buttons

hide captionAnd you thought this was over.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a likely candidate for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, said today there appears to be "credible" evidence of fraud in the 2008 Senate race between Al Franken (D) and the man he unseated, Norm Coleman (R).  That contest wasn't decided until June of 2009, when after countless recounts and court battles Franken was declared the winner by 312 votes.

MinnPost.com quotes Pawlenty at the end of an appearance today on the Fox News Channel, where he was asked about reports of nearly 1,000 convicted felons voting illegally in the 2008 election.  (The allegation initially came from a conservative group called Minnesota Majority.)

“There’s a group out here in Minnesota that’s investigated that,” Pawlenty said. “They seem to have found credible evidence that many felons who are not supposed to be voting actually voted in the Franken-Coleman election.”

He said he suspects that any illegally voting felons might have favored Franken, but hastened to add: "I don't know that."

But if true, he said, "it may have flipped the election."

Michael O'Brien, writing on The Hill's Blog Briefing Room, quotes Marc Elias, who handled Franken's legal team during the recount, as saying "that both Coleman and Franken’s attorneys brought forth all evidence in a process that was fully litigated before Franken was declared victor":

“Sen. Coleman was represented by some of the best lawyers there are in the country,” Elias said Wednesday. “At the end of that process, the lead lawyer for Sen. Coleman told the state Supreme Court that there was no evidence of persistent fraud in the election.”

O'Brien had a suggested explanation for Pawlenty's comments:

The aspersions toward Franken’s victory could be politically motivated for Pawlenty, a possible Republican candidate for president who will need to appeal to conservatives actively participating in the GOP’s primaries. Franken is a figure who’s generally reviled by many of those primary voters.

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