Still waiting on Minnesota
As I write this blog post, I am sitting in a coffee shop in Portland waiting to meet with the State Director for newly elected Senator Jeff Merkley, who had an impressive victory over incumbent Republican Gordon Smith here in Oregon. Today is a big day for people who are hoping the Democrats will get to 60 in the Senate with the runoff election between Republican Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin. While the excitement focuses on Georgia, the recount slog is still happening in Minnesota to decide whether our endorsed candidate Al Franken will join the freshman class in Washington next month.
The recount started on November 19th, and they are still painstakingly hand-counting ballots. The Minnesota Secretary of State has Senator Coleman ahead in the count, and Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com has statistical models showing Coleman favored to win, but with a high degree of uncertainty because of controversy around rejected absentee ballots. The Franken campaign might turn to the courts or the Senate to order the counting of more than 1,000 absentee votes that were rejected. While this race has left the limelight nationally due to President-elect Obama’s transition team, there is still a great deal of drama around the razor-thin margin in this race.
With possibilities like ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty in the next two years, which requires 67 Senate votes, we at Peace Action West are very concerned with building a stronger pro-peace majority in the Senate. We sent an organizer to assist the Franken campaign and we are continuing our support during the recount and hoping to send yet another progressive leader on foreign policy to Congress.
UPDATE: Some good news from later in the day is making things look more favorable for Franken.