Did Tweeden’s Reticence Cost Coleman His Senate Seat?

Last Thursday evening, I served as master of ceremonies for a dinner at which several politicians and former politicians spoke. I introduced Norm Coleman as a man who, many believe, was twice elected to the United States Senate. Today the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports Coleman’s thoughts on Leeann Tweeden’s revelations about her encounters with Al Franken in 2006:

Former U.S. Sen. and St. Paul Mayor Norm Coleman said he would have beaten Al Franken in the hotly contested 2008 Senate race if a photo of Franken appearing to grope a sleeping woman had come out.

Following a statewide recount and court battle, Franken won the election by 312 votes, unseating Coleman.

“You’ve got to believe that photo is worth more than 312 votes,” Coleman said in comments first reported by TalkingPointsMemo.

Good point! Tweeden, of course, had no obligation to reveal what Franken did to her shortly before he began his run for the Senate. But if she had told her story promptly, Franken probably would not have gotten the nomination. And if it had come out during the election campaign, Coleman would have been re-elected easily.

Franken’s tenure as a senator has been undistinguished, but his election was historic in this respect: when he finally took his seat after a recount was completed, he became the 60th vote for Obamacare. As it turned out, a great deal turned on Tweeden’s reticence.

If Minnesota had adequate voter integrity laws, none of this would have mattered. Long after the fact, it was demonstrated that at least 1,099 felons voted illegally in the Coleman-Franken election, no doubt the vast majority for Franken. Many other illegal votes were cast for Franken as well, e.g. by non-citizens. The role of voter fraud in electing Al Franken, and thereby passing Obamacare, helps to explain why Democrats hysterically oppose voter ID and all other measures intended to minimize election fraud.

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