Roll Call is reporting that, “Senate Democratic leaders are leaving open the possibility of inserting themselves into the Minnesota Senate race if Sen. Norm Coleman (R) prevails and Democratic challenger Al Franken protests the results.” Meanwhile, TPM observes that the Franken camp itself is “downplaying” the possibility (i.e. saying it remains an option, but not wanting to signal that it’s their intention to take advantage of that option while less controversial means still exist for protesting the election results).
It would be surprising to me if this did come to the Senate floor. Throughout the campaign and thus far in the transition, Barack Obama has emphasized that he doesn’t want petty partisanship to get in the way of advancing his agenda. This was demonstrated by his desire to keep Joe Lieberman within the Democratic fold, rather than alienating him by seeking vengence at the behest of liberal bloggers. Harry Reid followed Obama’s wishes in that instance, and I would expect that Obama would prefer a pragmatic approach in this instance as well. Had Saxby Chambliss lost in Georgia, meaning a filibuster-proof majority were on the line in Minnesota, perhaps the Democrats could justify going to the mattresses over the Senate seat. But it just doesn’t make much sense that they would risk so much political blowback for the goal of getting from 58 seats to 59. There would be no better way for Democrats to tie up the Senate and put the breaks on Obama’s agenda than for them to instigate a partisan floor fight over this issue. Come to think of it, maybe Reid should bring this before the Senate!