By ANDY BARR
Updated 6:32 AM EST, Tue, Feb 17, 2009
Democrat Al Franken has started using the title “Senator-elect,” despite the fact that his contest with Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) has not yet been decided.
A Minnesota court is currently hearing Coleman’s challenge to the recount.
A press release sent out by his staff Monday announcing a series of town halls with local mayors reads: “Sen.-elect Franken held the first in a series of roundtable discussions with Minnesota Mayors today in St. Paul. Franken and metro-area mayors discussed the economic realities facing their cities, budget cuts, President Obama's measures for economic stimulus, and how to grow Minnesota’s economy.”
The Democratic mayor of St. Paul is also quoted in the release referring to Franken as the victor.
“Right now, Washington is debating matters of enormous consequence to Minnesota’s economy,” Mayor Chris Coleman says in the release. “Senator-elect Franken understands what our cities need to prosper and we’re ready for him to go to Washington to be a voice for us.”
Since taking the lead in the recount, Franken has insisted that he is the rightful winner of the Minnesota Senate race, but until Monday, neither he nor his staff had used the title. Franken attorney Mark Elias called the Democrat “Senator-elect” in January, but the campaign corrected him.
After his attorney’s flap, Franken spokeswoman Jess McIntosh told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that “when people call Al 'Senator,' he corrects them.”
“It happened all the time,” she added.
Franken himself has resisted using the title, even though he has declared himself the winner. “I won the recount,” Franken said at a press conference after the initial recount concluded. “You can call me Al.”
The GOP has promised to mount a filibuster — which would require 60 votes to overcome — if Democrats attempt to seat Franken before Coleman exhausts his legal remedies.
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