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Senate Standoff Looms in Washington, DC

Al Franken Dish.jpg

(Danville, California)

This is not a laughing matter--at least, not for Republicans.

For the first time that I can recall, a professional comedian has been elected to the U.S. Congress. You historians out there, correct me if I am wrong; but cracks that “There have always been 535 jokers on Capitol Hill” don’t count, true as they may be.

The Minnesota State Canvassing Board says that Democrat Al Franken has won the U.S. Senate seat from Minnesota. Franken was one of the comic geniuses behind “Saturday Night Live.”

The margin of victory was just 225 votes, which underscores the old saying that “every vote counts.”

But it’s not over yet. Republican Sen. Norm Coleman could launch a legal fight. Here’s a portion of today’s Associated Press report:

“The Coleman campaign also has a petition pending before the state Supreme Court to include 650 ballots that it says were improperly rejected but not forwarded by local officials to St. Paul for counting.

The court has not said when it would rule in that case.

New York Sen. Charles Schumer, who until recently was the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said Sunday that Franken had won the election.

‘While there are still possible legal issues that will run their course, there is no longer any doubt who will be the next Senator from Minnesota,’ Schumer said. ‘With the Senate set to begin meeting on Tuesday to address the important issues facing the nation, it is crucial that Minnesota's seat not remain empty, and I hope this process will resolve itself as soon as possible.’

Sen. John Cornyn, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, called Schumer's comments premature and troubling, since Schumer is the new chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, which has jurisdiction over contested elections.

‘Senator Schumer will likely play a key role in determining who ultimately assumes this Senate seat,’ Cornyn said. ‘Pre-judging the outcome while litigation is still pending calls into question his ability to impartially preside over this matter when it comes before the Committee, as it most certainly will.’

Coleman's term as senator officially expired Saturday.”

So, don’t count on seeing Al Franken take his Senate seat Tuesday.

As if that’s not enough drama, the “new” Senator from Illinois, Roland Burris, also wants to take his Senate seat Tuesday. He was appointed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D-IL), who is accused of holding something akin to a “garage sale” to sell the seat formerly held by President-elect Obama.

When the Senate convenes Tuesday for its new term, watch C-SPAN and see if you can spot the two empty seats.

I’m done writing my book on campaign 2008. It should be out in a few weeks. Check into the blog daily at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com.

Bill Richardson Drops Secretary of Commerce Nomination

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(Danville, California)

Wow! There's a new bump in the road to construction of President-elect Barack Obama's Cabinet. Today, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, who was nominated to be Secretary of Commerce, dropped out. This clip from Associated Press explains why:

"A federal grand jury is investigating how a California company that contributed to Richardson's political activities won a New Mexico transportation contract worth more than $1 million. Richardson said in a statement issued by the Obama transition office that the investigation could take weeks or months, but expressed confidence it will show he and his administration acted properly. A senior Obama adviser said that when Richardson was nominated he gave assurances that he would come out fine in the investigation, and the President-elect had no reason to doubt it."

Richardson, who also ran for President in 2008, is a former Secretary of Energy, Ambassador to the United Nations, and Member of Congress.

We'll keep you posted as events unfold!

Please visit us daily at www.MarkCurtisMedia.com

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