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Minnesota Court Rules Franken Winner

Updated: 8:49 p.m.A Minnesota election court has ruled that Democrat Al Franken defeated former Sen. Norm Coleman (R) after a recount in their extremely close 2008 Senate race.The three-judge panel ruled Monday evening that Franken received more votes in the race than Coleman — a decision the single-term Senator announced he will appeal in the next few days. Under Minnesota law, Coleman contested the election results in court after a hand recount gave Franken a 225-vote lead in January. After hundreds of additional ballots were added to the tally during the recount trial, Franken increased his lead to 312 votes over Coleman last week.But this is far from the final step in the Senate contest that has extended more than five months past Election Day. Coleman legal spokesman Ben Ginsberg promised to appeal the ruling to the Minnesota Supreme Court. “This order ignores the reality of what happened in the counties and cities on Election Day in terms of counting the votes,— Ginsberg said in a statement. “For these reasons, we must appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court so that no voter is left behind.—Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could seat Franken anytime under Senate rules; however, Republicans have said they would filibuster any such attempt to seat the Democrat until Coleman has exhausted all of his legal options. Coleman’s legal team has 10 days to appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court, after which he has also left the door open to appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. Lawyers for Coleman have maintained throughout the trial that certain inconsistencies in the way ballots were counted across the state gave Franken his recount victory.Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (N.J.) released a statement Monday night saying Franken should be allowed to get to work as soon as possible.”A thorough election contest upheld the result of a meticulous recount,” Menendez said. “Al Franken won the election, Al Franken won the recount, Al Franken won the contest, and now Al Franken should be allowed to get to work for the people of Minnesota.”

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