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Pawlenty says there’s ‘credible’ evidence of fraud in Franken-Coleman election

Gov. Tim Pawlenty is quoted today saying there appears to be “credible” evidence of fraud in Minnesota’s 2008 U.S.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty is quoted today saying there appears to be “credible” evidence of fraud in Minnesota’s 2008 U.S. Senate race between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. 

At the end of an appearance on Fox News, Pawlenty was asked about reports of felons voting in the 2008 election.

“There’s a group out here in Minnesota that’s investigated that,” Pawlenty said. “They seem to have found credible evidence that many felons who are not supposed to be voting actually voted in the Franken-Coleman election.”

He said he suspects that any illegally voting felons might have favored Franken, but hastened to add: “I don’t know that.”

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But if true, he said, “it may have flipped the election.”

The lengthy recount ended with Franken declared the winner by 312 votes.

In a blog published today on The Hill website, the head of Franken’s recount legal team, Marc Elias, told Micheal O’Brien that both sides brought forth all the evidence during the lengthy recount litigation:

“Sen. Coleman was represented by some of the best lawyers there are in the country,” Elias said Wednesday. “At the end of that process, the lead lawyer for Sen. Coleman told the state Supreme Court that there was no evidence of persistent fraud in the election.”

“It’s a process that I think both Sen. Coleman and the Franken side thought worked well,” Elias added.

O’Brien also offered thoughts on Pawlenty’s possible motives for the remarks:

The aspersions toward Franken’s victory could be politically motivated for Pawlenty, a possible Republican candidate for president who will need to appeal to conservatives actively participating in the GOP’s primaries. Franken is a figure who’s generally reviled by many of those primary voters.

The Minnesota governor, however, did sign Franken’s election certificate after the state’s Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Coleman, who dropped all appeals after that defeat.

Pawlenty’s televised comments came at the end of a segment on the federal defict — he considers that a huge crisis and has an op-ed in Politico about it today.