CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Coleman Wins Minnesota Senate Race
Aired November 6, 2002 - 06:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL COSTELLO, CNN ANCHOR: CNN is now saying that the winner of the Minnesota Senate seat is Norm Coleman. As you can see, he won narrowly over Walter Mondale.
There could be legal action in this race -- we don't know -- because of the strange nature of the strange nature of the race with Senator Paul Wellstone dying, and Walter Mondale entering the race late. There was some problem with paper balloting with the absentee ballots, and that could give the lawyers something to chew on. We just don't know yet.
But right now, CNN is clearing Norm Coleman the winner in Minnesota.
Let's move on to Bob Franken.
Bob Franken, you're still with us. I'm so glad. Give us an update from your perspective...
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I'm glad you're glad.
KAGAN: ... now that everyone is asleep in Minnesota.
FRANKEN: Well, as you can tell that the room is empty. They gave up about 1:300 local time, 2:30 Eastern time last night, and said they'd come back in the morning.
But privately, they were telling you that the trends didn't look that good, even though it was very, very close. This was truly a race that was too close to call.
There were some indications that the movement was going toward Norm Coleman. It is moving at a glacial pace, because of the fact that they've had to count in this state using paper ballots in the Senate race, the supplemental ballots necessitated by the death of Paul Wellstone and his quick replacement in the last week of the campaign by Walter Mondale. And of course, that has slowed things down quite a bit.
What also slowed things down was a huge voter turnout. There were long lines. Sometimes people waited for two and three hours to vote. No idea of how many people were discouraged to vote, but there was a long, long line.
And there were some complaints that people who were using the instant registration process in Minnesota weren't being given the access, but oftentimes those complaints prove to not be valid. It is unlikely that there is going to be any significant legal challenge to that.
There could be a legal challenge, as you pointed out, in the process over absentee ballots. The Democrats could claim that people weren't given enough time to resubmit their absentee ballots, and make the change from Paul Wellstone to Walter Mondale.
So, that kind of thing could come up, but that would have to then be demonstrated that there was a real significant possibility that that would turn the election around. And at this particular point, nobody is making that suggestion.
By the way, in Minnesota, there is an automatic recount if there is a half-of-a-percent margin or less in the race. It looks like it's going to be larger than that.
We're being told by the Mondale people there will be news conference sometime this morning. That, of course, will be when there is pressure for Senator Mondale, Vice President Mondale to concede. And of course, we can expect at some point this morning to hear from Norm Coleman -- Carol.
COSTELLO: You know, Bob, Walter Mondale is so very competitive politically, and even though he only had a week to campaign and one debate, what must he be feeling now?
FRANKEN: Well, what he's feeling is the first time that he's ever been defeated in a statewide race. Of course, he had suffered the sting of defeat twice in the national arena, once as the vice president to Jimmy Carter and once when he ran himself against President Reagan.
But he has been defeated now in Minnesota politics, so he had what you could call a very short departure, a very short departure from his semi-retirement, if you call semi-retirement being a professor, being on the boards of several organizations and corporations and being somebody who teaches law at the universities -- that type of thing. His semi-retirement for most people would be full employment.
COSTELLO: President Bush coming in to support Norm Coleman at the last minute. Did it help? It probably did, since Norm Coleman has pulled out a win here.
FRANKEN: Well, you know, the analysts are probably going to chew over this one for months and years. They chew over everything. But there is a growing feeling that President Bush is the one who received the pat on the back from the voters all across the country, and that possibly translated in Minnesota.
And also given the fact that many Republicans were energized made angry by a political memorial for Senator Paul Wellstone, it was called a political memorial by them, a memorial service that turned, in their eyes, into a political rally. That combination of things might have made the difference. It was not only President Bush who was here, Vice President Cheney was here, the first lady was here, all in the last weekend. And all of that might have had the effect of getting the Republicans out to vote.
COSTELLO: All right, Bob Franken, thanks very much again.
Norm Coleman winner of the Minnesota Senate Race.
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