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December 30, 2008

Cornyn: Franken camp promoting chaos

Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), the incoming chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, has some fighting words for Al Franken: The Minnesota Senate race is far from over.

In a statement released this afternoon, Cornyn accused the Franken campaign of promoting "chaos and disorder" in the ongoing recount and called Franken's current 50-vote lead over Sen. Norm Coleman "artificial."

His fighting comments suggest that Coleman will have the full backing of national Republicans as his campaign prepares to challenge the results of the election in court. Franken currently leads Coleman by 50 votes, with some 1,300 mistakenly rejected absentee ballots left to be counted.

Cornyn alleged that Franken's razor-thin lead is entirely attributable to the double-counting of some 150 ballots, echoing the Coleman campaign's claims. The Coleman campaign unsuccessfully filed suit to prevent the count from being certified until double-votes were identified and removed from the count.

Minnesota’s Supreme Court ruled last week that any issues surrounding potential duplicate ballots need to be handled through a post-election challenge. Coleman’s campaign signaled that it will indeed be challenging the results once the Canvassing Board declares a winner.

Here’s Cornyn’s statement in full:

"Al Franken is falsely declaring victory based on an artificial lead created on the back of the double counting of ballots. His campaign's actions in the last several days on the issues of rejected absentee ballots are creating additional chaos and disorder in the Minnesota recount. Those actions, coupled with the recent comments by Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who suggests seating someone even if there is an election contest, are unprecedented. Minnesotans will not accept a recount in which some votes are counted twice, and I expect the Senate would have a problem seating a candidate who has not duly won an election."