Based on Hope, GOP Declares Coleman the Winner

Posted November 5, 2008 at 2:31pm

Despite a mandatory recount, Senate Republican leaders have decided to pre-emptively declare Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn) the winner, a move that Republicans privately said was aimed at calming frayed nerves.

In a series of press releases sent out by the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the GOP’s leadership team offered congratulations to Coleman, who at press time was ahead of Democratic comedian Al Franken by 725 votes. The Associated Press early Wednesday declared Coleman the winner but pulled it back because of mandatory recount rules in Minnesota.

According to a senior GOP Senate aide, NRSC Chairman John Ensign (Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), Minority Whip Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Conference Chairman Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and other leaders declared Coleman the winner to boost GOP morale.

“It’s a little bit demoralizing,” the aide said of having a race go from won to undecided, adding that “when the AP flipped it, we as a party wanted to make clear that we didn’t believe he had lost the election.”