Conservatives Preparing for Franken Victory

As the window closes on Norm Coleman's chances for retaining his seat in the Senate, some conservatives are beginning to envision life without the Minnesota Republican.

In a filing on the conservative website,, author David A. Patten looked at the numbers and saw in them a Coleman-less Senate.

The counting of improperly rejected absentee ballots will probably increase Democratic challenger Al Franken's lead over incumbent GOP Sen. Norm Coleman according to a new analysis of voting trends, effectively relegating Coleman to filing lawsuits considered unlikely to reverse the outcome of the election.

Others on the right are not ready to accept defeat. National Republican Senatorial Committee Chair John Cornyn released a statement on Tuesday indicating that some GOP senators would resist seating Franken before the courts have their say, even if the Democratic challenger is declared the winner of the recount. "I expect the Senate would have a problem seating a candidate who has not duly won an election," Cornyn claimed.

In private, meanwhile, GOP officials have begun to contemplate Al Franken -- whose lead stands at a scant 50 votes and with largely favorable absentee ballots left to count -- ending up in Washington D.C.

By and large, such discussion has not surfaced in public. Coleman's hopes hinge on uncovering enough wrongfully rejected absentee ballots to overcome his current deficit but also the possibility of legally challenging the results.

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