Reid calls on Pawlenty to sign Franken certificate

Democrats are pushing the Minnesota governor, a Republican, to help them seat Al Franken in the Senate

Published June 30, 2009 7:35PM (EDT)

In the wake of the Minnesota Supreme Court's ruling in favor of Al Franken, Democrats are working feverishly to apply pressure to Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who has to sign the election certificate that would allow Franken to take his seat in the Senate.

Pawlenty has already said he won't run for reelection in 2010, apparently opting instead to prepare for a 2012 presidential run. So he's caught between a rock and a hard place here. If he doesn't sign the certificate, Democrats will smack him around, saying he's playing politics with American democracy. If he does, he risks alienating his own party.

The one man who can save Pawlenty from a tough decision is former Sen. Norm Coleman. Coleman has hinted before that he would take his case on beyond the Minnesota Supreme Court and to the federal judiciary, but has since walked that back.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine, himself the governor of Virginia, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are two of the most prominent Democrats applying pressure to Pawlenty. "The people of Minnesota will now finally get the brilliant and hardworking new senator they elected in November and the full representation they deserve," Reid said in a statement. "I once again encourage Governor Pawlenty to respect the votes of his constituents and the decisions of his state’s highest court. He should put politics aside, follow his state’s laws and finally sign the certificate that will bring this episode to an end.”

We may know Coleman's decision fairly soon: He's reportedly set to speak at 4 p.m. EDT. Franken was scheduled to speak at 4:30 p.m. EDT, but that's been pushed back to 5:15.

Update: With Coleman having conceded, Reid's out with another statement.

"I know a thing or two about close elections, and I appreciate both that Norm Coleman fought hard throughout his race and recount, and that he is now stepping aside and letting the people of Minnesota have the full representation they deserve," the majority leader says.

“I enjoyed my time working with Norm Coleman in the United States Senate, and wish him the best.”

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Al Franken D-minn. Harry Reid