Sen. John Ensign, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said in a conference call that Senate Democrats were unlikely to take the political risk of contesting the Minnesota election results in the U.S. Senate.
“I think that the Democratic majority will not want to see this come to the Senate,” Ensign said this afternoon. He added that, “there will be a heavy political price to pay” if they try to overturn the choice of Minnesota voters.
Ensign said he faced a similar decision in his 1998 Senate race, when he went through a recount but still trailed Harry Reid by about 400 votes. “I was in the exact same position that Al Franken is in today,” Ensign said. He said he conceded the race without taking it to the courts or to the Senate even though there were irregularities in the election.
“It’s pretty clear that Norm Coleman is going to win this race in the recount, just like he did on election day,” Ensign said.
As for the Georgia race, based on tracking polling, Ensign said Republicans expected Saxby Chambliss to win by 5 to 6 percent. He also said Sarah Palin’s appearance provided a late boost.
“She was able to get a lot of people excited, and make sure they were focused on the race,” he said. Especially helpful, according to Ensign, was all the press attention generated by her celebrity, which helped remind voters who may not have been paying attention that there was a run-off today.
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