It comes from Tim Pawlenty, the Republican governor who has tacitly supported Coleman throughout his protracted recount battle with Al Franken.
He thinks it's unlikely he'll have to do it, but Gov. Tim Pawlenty is looking into the possibility of appointing a temporary senator if Minnesota's tight U.S. Senate race remains unresolved.
He says Minnesota wouldn't want to have a Senate seat remain vacant very long, given the "huge legislation" that will pass when a new president and new Congress take over in January.
But the seat wouldn't be vacant! Norm Coleman, after all, is still a senator. Is Pawlenty suggesting that Coleman will fall behind in the vote count and that the Democratic Senate will refuse to seat him? Has he been told as much?
There are still lawsuits to be filed, but if Franken moves ahead of Coleman when the canvass of challenged votes ends today—as local media expect will happen—he may be in the lead when the new Senate is sworn in, two-odd weeks from now. That's what Pawlenty is planning for.