Would Coleman be better off losing?


Politico writes today that even if Norm Coleman pulls off a miracle win in his Senate race/trial/appeal against Al Franken, he’d be so besieged by investigations that he might wish he hadn’t:

Separate and apart from the ongoing legal dispute over November’s election, the Minnesota Republican faces several unresolved investigations: a reported FBI probe into his dealings with Nasser Kazeminy, a friend and benefactor; a potential Senate Ethics Committee inquiry into his Capitol Hill living arrangements; a federal elections investigation into his use of campaign donations for legal expenses; and a possible state probe into his campaign’s handling of donors’ financial information on its website.

“Coleman would almost be better off if he lost,” said David Schultz, a professor at Hamline University in St. Paul. “Should he win, he faces a host of legal and other issues in the Senate. He would enter the Senate with the Kazeminy case shadowing him, and that would almost certainly produce an ethics investigation.”

J.B. Poersch, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, says he plans to make Coleman’s problems an issue against Republican incumbents in next year’s midterm elections.

“These are really serious ethical issues, and the longer Republicans entangle themselves with someone like Coleman, the more damage he does to them,” Poersch told POLITICO. “We’re going to bring them up anyway, but they would be better off if he was out of the Senate.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) echoed those sentiments, adding, “I think it appears he’s got a number of challenges in front of him. I would think it would be wise for him to make a decision to accept the outcome of the voters in Minnesota.”

Coleman, who on Thursday laid out his legal strategy to supporters in Washington, has flatly denied any wrongdoing and dismissed the complaints against him as a smear campaign organized by Democrats.

“Sen. Coleman will be returning to the Senate as the state’s senior senator with elevated posts on the committees and in a position to provide Minnesotans with the high-quality constituent services that earned him the nickname ‘Minnesota’s mayor in Washington,’” said Tom Erickson, a Coleman spokesman. “He remains encouraged by the support of his colleagues in the Senate who are committed to seeing that every legal vote is counted.”

Then again, since three out of the four investigations will still occur whether Coleman is in the Senate or not, I’m not sure how much difference it makes to Coleman whether he’s in Washington or Minnesota. As for it being used against Republicans in the 2010 election, that’s making what appears to be a pretty big assumption at this point — that this recount will actually be resolved 18 months from now.

Furthermore, one would think Coleman would be emboldened by this week’s decision by the Justice Department to drop the corruption case against former Sen. Ted Stevens.

The biggest obstacle for Norm Coleman still remains that he still doesn’t seem to have enough votes.

Recommended from JTA