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Downballot: In need of a miracle?

"The Minnesota U.S. Senate election trial's three-judge panel today denied Republican Norm Coleman's request for reconsideration of their decision to rule illegal thousands of rejected absentee ballots," the Pioneer Press writes. "Last week, the court ruled that rejected absentee ballots that fell into any of 12 'categories' were illegal and would not be counted. Those categories included ballots that were sent by the deadline but got stuck in the mail and ballots that were incorrectly submitted because of bad information from election judges."

The Coleman camp blasted the decision. The Minneapolis Star Tribune: "The often-plodding trial of the U.S. Senate lawsuit erupted Wednesday. Norm Coleman's lawyers, reacted to a pair of adverse rulings by accusing the judges hearing the suit of creating 'a legal quagmire' and a 'fatal inconsistency' by refusing to consider some rejected absentee ballots that resemble others that have already been counted."

More: "While it's rare for lawyers to criticize judges hearing their cases, it's not surprising given the circumstances facing Coleman, said law professor Charles. 'This has both a political purpose and a legal purpose,' Charles said. 'The political purpose is to try to maintain some support for the Coleman camp as it's taking on some negative legal rulings.' The legal purpose is to 'send a message to the court that's involved, the Minnesota Supreme Court and perhaps the federal courts that, "Look, there are serious problems here and if we appeal to you, you are going to have to take our case very seriously."'"

Given the Coleman camp's legal setbacks, Politico says Coleman is in need of a miracle to beat Franken. "Does Coleman have any real chance of retaining his Senate seat? The answer, according to state political and legal analysts, is that it would take a miracle. Miracles do happen in politics — but four weeks into a court case that will decide the winner of Minnesota's tortured Senate race, the GOP incumbent is facing just-about-insurmountable hurdles to overcome the 225-vote deficit he was saddled with at the end of the official recount."