Coleman uses conservative media to keep campaign aliveby Mark Zdechlik, Minnesota Public Radio
The three-judge panel hearing Republican Norm Coleman's Senate lawsuit spent part of Monday behind closed doors going through nearly 400 rejected absentee ballots to determine if any of them should be counted. Tuesday in open court the panel will count ballots that it rules were wrongly rejected. Coleman has had a lot to say about his plans to take his election battle to the Minnesota Supreme Court if he loses before the three-judge panel. For the past several days he's been saying it almost exclusively to conservative TV and radio shows.
St. Paul, Minn. — Since early last week Norm Coleman has been telling sympathetic radio and television shows his battle for Minnesota's U.S. Senate seat is far from over. Coleman insists if the votes are fairly counted he -- not Democrat Al Franken -- will be the winner.
Friday morning Coleman appeared on the "Fox And Friends" TV show.
"The Constitution which was played out in Florida says that you can't have different standards for opening ballots either between counties or even within counties," Coleman said to sympathetic interviewers. "So all we're arguing for is a uniform standard similar to what's already been in play, what was done on election night, and if we do that we believe there are enough votes for me to get back the lead that I had election night."
Coleman had a similar message on a Fox Radio program called "Brian and the Judge."
"Bottom line is, I want to make sure that the votes are counted fairly and uniformly, a uniform standard we're going to push to the Minnesota Supreme Court to make that happen if we have to," he said.
"Well this man does not quit," said one of the interviewers.
Coleman also was talking appeals on The Michael Medved Show radio show and locally on the Jason Lewis Show.
Coleman attended much of the seven-week trial of his election contest and often spoke with reporters in hallways outside the courtroom. But lately he's talking almost exclusively with conservative commentators and programs.
Al Franken did not attend the trial and has generally avoided interviews. Washington University political scientist Steve Smith said Coleman is carefully choosing the media he's talking too about his plans. Smith said by appealing to the GOP base, Coleman can fire up supporters to send money without coming across as a sore loser to a majority of Minnesota voters.
"Part of the reason for appearing on the more partisan or right-leaning programs is that he knows what the audience for those programs happens to be," Smith said. "It's not the middle of the road or the Minnesotan voter. It's someone who's already pretty dedicated to the cause. So he's there addressing his natural constituency and there's very little harm that he can do if he handles himself properly."
In addition to Coleman's comments on right-wing television and radio shows, there's a lot of noise in Washington about Minnesota's Senate battle, and it's coming from both sides of the aisle.
Democrats are promoting an electronic petition asking Coleman to stop fighting the results of the recount.
Even before the three-judge panel issues its final ruling, prominent Republican senators are publicly looking past Coleman's expected appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. They're saying if Coleman loses in Minnesota he should take his case to U.S. Supreme Court.
Both Republicans and Democrats continue to make appeals to supporters for money to help pay for the battle.
- All Things Considered, 04/06/2009, 5:20 p.m.