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Coleman’s campaign manager moves on and Pawlenty sounds a bit readier to sign

Cullen Sheehan, who was campaign manager of Norm Coleman’s still respirating 2008 Senate reelection campaign, has moved on.

Without much fanfare, Sheehan has begun working full-time as the Midwest regional political director for the Republican National Committee. Sheehan told me he is no longer getting paid by the Coleman campaign, but is still helping out as needed. But that may be difficult, as he is on the road now every week (and has been since he started the job four weeks ago) getting to know his new territory, which stretches from Minnesota west to Montana and south to Arkansas. His job is to help the state Repub parties in those states with fund-raising and other basic political tasks.

This feels like the continuation of the gradual shutdown of Coleman’s campaign operations. The paid staff now consists of one full-time media guy, plus one andd a half positions doing administrative work. It deepens my sense that there will be no appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court nor effort to start a new case in federal district court (although Coleman could certainly do either of those things with his legal team, without needing a campaign manager, although not without continuing to fund-raise).

On a related note, Gov. Pawlenty said on CNN yesterday that he expects a Supreme Court ruling on Coleman’s appeal “any day” and that he will sign an election certificate promptly unless a federal court issues a stay. That’s totally consistent with what he’s been saying for some weeks, but the tone of this iteration seemed a little different and he did not sound like he would wait very long to give Coleman time to seek a stay.

Both the Strib and the Pi-Press described it as his clearest statement to date that he will sign and won’t delay. I agree, although the difference was entirely tonal.

Here’s video of Pawlenty on CNN’s State of the Union with John King asking the questions, followed, for those who don’t want to watch the video, by transcript of his Coleman-Franken answer.

Here’s the transcript:

KING: Your state has only had one United States senator since the election because of the disputed election between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken.

Your state Supreme Court has a ruling before it, it could come very soon. After that ruling, the next step would be for you to certify the election. Will you certify the election based on your state’s supreme court ruling, is that for you?

PAWLENTY: I’m going to follow the direction of the court, John. We expect that ruling any day now. I also expect them to give guidance and direction as to the certificate of election. I’m prepared to sign it as soon as they give the green light.

KING: And so if Norm Coleman loses at the state supreme court and says he’s going to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, will you give him that time or will you say, sorry, Senator Coleman, our state supreme court, our highest court in this state, has spoken, and I will follow their lead?

PAWLENTY: Well, a federal court could stay or put a limit on or stop the effect of the state court ruling. If they chose, if they do that, I would certainly follow their direction. But if that doesn’t happen promptly or drags out for any period of time, then we need to move ahead with signing this, particularly if I’m ordered to do that by the state court.

KING: And if you’re ordered to do it and they say Al Franken has narrowly won the election, you’re prepared to sign it, if the court says so.

PAWLENTY: I’m not going to defy an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court. That would be a dereliction of my duty. But a federal court could weigh in and say, don’t do that and order a different result.

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by dan buechler on 06/29/2009 - 02:17 pm.

    Please write about the significance of Friday’s passage of the House bill regarding global warming.

  2. Submitted by Howard Miller on 06/29/2009 - 03:23 pm.

    Seems like Mr. Coleman and Mr. Pawlenty are getting ready to move beyond the senate race election loss to Mr. Franken, while Representative Kline (R-Mn) and Senator Cornyn (R-Texas) are anxious for the election dispute to continue until a Republican wins.

    Good for the governor to be advocating following the law, in contrast to that zany congressional representative from the Minnesota 6th, who sees ACORN’s hand- if not the devil’s own hoof – in the Constitutionally mandated US Census poll. Rep. Bachmann plans to defy the law by failing to complete the census for her family, and has been on tv seeming to encourage civil disobedience along those lines. Too bad it wasn’t warrantless wiretapping or something as simililarly serious that stirred her nonviolent protest fervor, rather than the fairly innocuous and useful census.

  3. Submitted by Frank Bowden on 06/29/2009 - 11:00 pm.

    Cullen Sheehan was more than Coleman’s campaign manager. He was also Coleman’s co-petitioner in the election contest. He was an Iowa resident before joining Coleman’s campaign, moved here to manage the campaign, and then became a principal in protesting the result of the election. Where does he call home now? I’m working off my memory here; so please correct me if I am wrong. All you lawyers out there, is this how our laws are supposed to work, where someone is able to take advantage of our easy voting residence laws in order to claim standing in a civil lawsuit that throws the results of a statewide election into limbo?

  4. Submitted by Howard Miller on 06/30/2009 - 11:23 am.

    Doesn’t Sheehan need to have been a Mn resident for just 30 days prior to the election to be eligible to vote?

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