From NBC's Mark Murray
Although the Minnesota Supreme Court won't begin hearing arguments in the never-ending Norm Coleman vs. Al Franken recount until June 1, there are two new developments to report.
First, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has committed $750,000 to help Coleman pay his legal bills. A Republican official insists that this money is to help pay past legal bills -- not future ones that might be incurred if Coleman decides to take his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. It's worth pointing out that this $750,000 isn't chump change.
Second, Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine (D), chairman of the Democratic National Committee, has written a letter to Minnesota GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty, asking him to urge Coleman to concede or sign the election certificate as soon as the Minnesota Supreme Court rules on the recount.
Below is the letter, which Kaine sent yesterday...
May 19, 2009
Governor Tim Pawlenty
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Dear Governor Pawlenty:
It has now been six months since Minnesota voters went to the polls to cast their ballots in a hard fought election for the United States Senate. No one will deny that the race was incredibly close - but after an official recount, an extensive legal process and a clear and definitive ruling by the three judge panel, it is all but indisputable that Democrat Al Franken won and will be the next Senator from Minnesota.
The voters of Minnesota elected Al Franken, and during every step in the legal process that judgment has been confirmed. By continuing to fight this losing battle - despite the fact that two-thirds of Minnesotans believe its time for him to concede - Norm Coleman is putting his own political ambition ahead of the voters choice and Minnesotas right to full representation in the Senate.
Last month, there was another hard fought race in New Yorks 20th Congressional district. But once Republican Jim Tedisco realized the numbers were not going his way, he appropriately conceded. He congratulated his opponent Scott Murphy and moved on. Now that the outcome of the election in Minnesota is abundantly clear: its time for Norm Coleman to follow Jim Tediscos example. I urge you to use your influence to bring this process to an end by asking Norm Coleman to allow his neighbors and yours, their full representation in Congress.
However, if Mr. Coleman refuses to concede and this case is heard and decided by the Minnesota State Supreme Court, I urge you to commit to signing an election certificate for the rightful winner as soon as the Court issues a ruling in this case. To allow this to process to continue into the federal courts for no other reason than to deny for as long as possible the seating of another Democratic Senator would make what has been a bad situation for Minnesotans even worse. I urge you to do everything within your power and influence to bring this process to an end.
Chairman Democratic National Committee