The likelihood of Harry Reid intervening in Minnesota’s Senate race to install Al Franken via Senate fiat dimmed considerably when Saxby Chambliss routed Jim Martin in Georgia’s run-off election last week. Tim Pawlenty isn’t taking any chances, however. The governor of Minnesota offered pointed advice to Reid and DSCC chair Chuck Schumer last night on Hannity and Colmes:
HANNITY: Bring our audience — you know how I feel about Al Franken. I think he’s dishonest, I think he would be a bad senator, he’s failed at everything he’s done, at no point has he overtaken Norm Coleman in the lead. Tell us the status in terms of the final point in the recount, because I think Al Franken is going to try to drive this race into the United States Senate so his buddies Chuck Schumer, Durbin and Prince Harry Reid can help him steal the election. That’s my take. What is happening on the ground and what do you see happening in the future?
GOV. PAWLENTY: Well, in short Sean, Norm Coleman maintains his lead of 192 votes, the canvassing board reconvenes later this week. They’re going to go through the recount, certify a result, including dealing with the challenged ballots. Most of the nonpartisan experts on the ground believe that Norm Coleman has an overwhelming advantage because of the way that this will work. After that’s done the canvassing board will strive to try and certify the election and the lawsuit will begin. Norm Coleman, I believe, will win this race and deserves to win this race, but if they try to put this into the United States Senate, there are only two United States Senators who have a right to vote in Minnesota and their names aren’t Schumer and Reid, and so they should butt out. They should butt out.
ALAN COLMES: Thank you Governor, its Alan Colmes, welcome back to our show. Why do you think is Norm Coleman having such a hard time winning this race?
GOV. PAWLENTY: He won it.
COLMES: I mean, before the recount. Why has been it so close?
GOV. PAWLENTY: Keep in mind, Alan – and by the way I’m saddened to see that you’re going to be leaving the show. I know all the guests appreciate you. You’re a good sport and thank you for what you’ve done.
COLMES: That’s very kind of you to say.
HANNITY: By the way Governor, not all the guests. Some may not…
COLMES: Maybe not even all the hosts.
GOV. PAWLENTY: Yeah, well. Putting up with Sean, that’s a heavy lift. In terms of the race, remember there was a third matter candidate in the race, Alan, that got 15% of the vote so that kind of diluted the spread of the vote, and plus it’s a tough state in a tough year for a Republican, and that adds up to a close race.
After Georgia’s run-off, and especially after the shenanigans playing out in Illinois, I doubt that Reid has the stomach to try such a heavy-handed play just to still be one vote short of a filibuster-proof Senate. After a special election in Illinois, Reid may wind up with one less Democrat in the Senate anyway, if Illinois voters get disgusted enough with the Blagojevich scandal and the possible implications for other Democrats in the state.