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Coleman plans to appeal setback in Senate fight in Minn.

Democrat Al Franken has urged his rival to give up. Democrat Al Franken has urged his rival to give up.
Associated Press / April 15, 2009
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ST. PAUL - Republican Norm Coleman will appeal his latest setback in the Minnesota Senate election battle but probably not until next week, his lawyer said yesterday, further stretching out the five-month struggle.

The former senator has 10 days to ask the Minnesota Supreme Court to review Monday night's decision, which was in favor of Democrat Al Franken. Coleman lawyer Ben Ginsberg said his team needs time to fully review the decision before filing the appeal.

A three-judge panel ruled unanimously that Franken won 312 more votes than incumbent Coleman in November and should get an election certificate. Franken gained more votes from the election challenge than Coleman, who brought the lawsuit.

"The overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that the November 4, 2008 election was conducted fairly, impartially, and accurately," the judges wrote. "There is no evidence of a systematic problem of disenfranchisement in the state's election system, including in its absentee-balloting procedures."

Coleman's lawyers say that counties treated absentee ballots differently, creating constitutional problems.

"We feel [the judges] have misunderstood a number of the issues as well as what's at stake in this case," Ginsberg said.

An appeal could push the race into May or beyond, because once a notice of appeal is filed both sides will have more time to submit written arguments.

It's possible for Coleman to initiate a new action in federal court, too.

On Monday night, Franken stood outside his Minneapolis condominium building and urged Coleman to give up.

"I would call on Senator Coleman to allow me to get to work for the people of Minnesota as soon as possible," Franken said.