Conservative radio hosts accuse Dems of "trying to steal" MN Senate election -- but there's no evidence, according to GOP governor

››› ››› JULIE MILLICAN

Several conservative talk radio hosts have accused Democrats of "trying to steal" the Minnesota senatorial election for Democratic challenger Al Franken over incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R). They offer no evidence for the accusation; indeed, the state's Republican governor has said there is none.

In recent days, several conservative talk radio hosts have accused Democrats of "trying to steal" the Minnesota senatorial election for Democratic challenger Al Franken over incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R). They offer no evidence to back up their accusation, and, according to the state's Republican governor, there is none. Gov. Tim Pawlenty said on November 12 on Sean Hannity's radio show that there is "no actual evidence that there's been any fraud or problems" in counting the votes.

Also, on the November 12 edition of Hannity & Colmes, Hannity asked Pawlenty: "Do you suspect there's been cheating going on?" Pawlenty replied: "Sean, we don't have any direct evidence of that, and when you make an allegation -- not you, but anybody -- of fraud in an election, it's a very serious matter, so you gotta have specific evidence to back it up."

The following conservative talk radio hosts have baselessly accused Democrats of trying to "steal" the election:

  • Mark Levin: On the November 11 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Levin described Franken as a "spiteful troll," and said: "I see he and his fellow hoods are trying to steal the election in Minnesota."
  • Rush Limbaugh: On the November 12 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, during a discussion with a caller about the upcoming Georgia run-off between Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss and Democratic challenger Jim Martin, Limbaugh stated: "At this point, people in Georgia have gotta take this very seriously. Because the Democrats are trying to steal Minnesota, and they're gonna, they're -- he's [Chambliss] gotta win this runoff in Georgia."
  • Chris Baker: On the November 13 broadcast of his Minneapolis-based radio program, Baker asserted that "the left" have "become the fascists that they have claimed to be the watchdog to protect people from." He added: "And it's really frightening, especially with the coming political situation. I mean, once the Norm Coleman election is stolen, and they get rid of [Sen.] Ted Stevens [R-AK], and they maybe get rid of Saxby Chambliss, with a supermajority, these people are gonna run amok, and it's all over and we're all gonna be in irons."

From the November 11 edition of ABC Radio Networks' The Mark Levin Show:

LEVIN: Well, speaking of the spiteful troll, aka Al Franken, I see he and his fellow hoods are trying to steal the election in Minnesota. May I say a brief prayer out loud? Dear God, I think we've had about all we can take in this last election. Please, please, not a Senator Al Franken. What would the Founding Fathers say? My God, please. All right, now, I would be remiss if I didn't thank our new affiliate in Nacogdoches, Texas -- KSFA. There we go. Let's go to Katie, Oxford, New Jersey.

From the November 12 broadcast of Premiere Radio Networks' Rush Limbaugh Show:

CALLER: I'm a little frustrated. Well, that's not true; I'm very frustrated. I kind of feel like my vote is being extorted down here. You know, Georgia conservatives screamed bloody murder over the bailout, and Saxby Chambliss refused to vote with us. He went up there and -- and did what he wanted to do -- whatever he wanted to do, which is, you know, even come clean down here and admitted --

LIMBAUGH: I know, I know. I know it. He voted for the gang of whatever on the offshore drilling. He made a tactical mistake there. At this point, people in Georgia have gotta take this very seriously. Because the Democrats are trying to steal Minnesota, and they're gonna, they're -- he's gotta win this runoff in Georgia. If -- if -- if we lose these two they're up to 59.

CALLER: I know, Rush. I am -- I'm in total agreement with you there. And I continue to write and write and write letters over to their campaign begging them for just one humble moment to admit that the bailout was a really bad idea, and that it's down the tubes further than anybody could have imagined, and just to admit that he's in Washington to represent me.

LIMBAUGH: Not gonna do it. He's not gonna -- he's not gonna do it.

From the November 13 broadcast of KTLK's The Chris Baker Show:

BAKER: See, we've -- we've come to a point where if you have an opinion that opposes the left, sorry, you must be silenced and shut down.

LANGDON PERRY (KTLK host): Right.

BAKER: I don't hear conservatives asking for people to be thrown out of their job on a regular basis. I don't hear conservatives on a regular basis say that people should be ostracized, culled from the herd. But, man, you get these people all wound up, and they, you know, they burst into a church over the weekend.

PERRY: The left, I think, has become much more the party of "you can't say that" or "you can't do that."

BAKER: They have become the fascists that they have claimed to be the watchdog to protect people from. And it's really frightening, especially with the coming political situation. I mean, once the Norm Coleman election is stolen, and they get rid of Ted Stevens and they maybe get rid of Saxby Chambliss, with a supermajority, these people are gonna run amok, and it's all over and we're all gonna be in irons.

From the November 12 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes:

HANNITY: And this is a "Fox News Alert." The recount has not even started in Minnesota, and somehow Al Franken has already shaved off more than 500 votes off the incumbent lead. That's Norm Coleman.

Now, Republican Coleman was up by 725 votes last Wednesday morning, but as of yesterday that difference has now shrunk to just 206. Coleman's vanishing lead came during a week when Minnesota election officials were required to check their initial results.

Under normal practices, both candidates would expect a bump, but these strange circumstances have seen only Franken's vote totals swell. Now, the Minneapolis director of elections claims to have found 32 absentee ballots hiding in the trunk of her car -- all of them conveniently going to Al Franken.

Liberal-leaning precincts in Two Harbors, Minnesota, and Partridge Township threw Franken another 346 votes combined, claiming that wrong numbers were initially submitted. Again, Coleman's vote total -- it remained unchanged. Plus, Franken's changes are nearly three times the gains for Democratic candidates statewide. So, the question is: Is the fix in?

Joining us now is Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty. Governor, as I describe that -- I'm sorry, no reasonable person can conclude there's not funny business going on here. What is your thoughts on this?

PAWLENTY: Sean, in the practice of law, there's a phenomenon called disparate impact, which means when something is so out of proportion to what the norm or the trend would be, it at least raises a concern or a suspicion.

In Minnesota, we don't have any evidence of wrongdoing, but these patterns that you've just described cause us concern, because even if you're in a part of the state that's overwhelmingly Democrat, Norm Coleman should be getting some of the votes, not losing 100 percent or 90 percent to Al Franken. So, it's cause for concern for sure.

[...]

HANNITY: But here's the problem. We did not have a uniform system in terms of the day after Election Day to protect those ballots. So, in other words, the different precincts -- so, in other words, my fear is that the fix may already been in, and during the recount, we're going gonna discover, oh, there's another 500 votes for Franken.

When you look at these changed votes so far, Governor, you know, we see that, for example, the Senate gains for Franken were two and a half times that than the gain for Barack Obama, and Barack Obama way outperformed Franken in the state of Minnesota; 2.9 times the total of the Democrats across the congressional races; and five times the net loss that Democrats suffered for all statehouse races. So, he's outperforming every single solitary measure. So, I'm asking -- I guess, Governor, I guess my question is honest: Do you suspect there's been cheating going on?

PAWLENTY: Sean, we don't have any direct evidence of that, and when you make an allegation -- not you, but anybody -- of fraud in an election, it's a very serious matter, so you gotta have specific evidence to back it up.

What we do know is the statistics that you're citing and the patterns that you're citing are suspicious. They seem to defy probability theory; they seem to defy common sense. Even in an overwhelmingly Democratic area, Norm Coleman would be getting some of those votes -- 20, 30, 40 percent. That's not happening, so it raises a red flag.

From the November 12 edition of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:

HANNITY: Well, here's what I read. John Lott wrote a very frightening piece about what's happening here, and he chronicled how we've gone from 725 votes -- what are we, down to 206 votes separating the two in Norm Coleman's favor?

PAWLENTY: Correct.

HANNITY: OK. So he points out that, for example, the Senate gains for Franken were two and a half times the gain for Obama in the presidential race count. In other words, these ballots "oops" that we found -- now here's a state where Barack Obama won fairly handily. But yet, these ballots that we're now finding, you know, are favoring Franken two and a half times than that of the gain of Obama; 2.9 times the gain of the Democrats and what they got all across Minnesota in congressional races; and five -- five times the net loss the Democrats suffered for all state house races.

PAWLENTY: Yeah, those -- those are definitely a concern, Sean. I want to be clear. You know, Minnesota has a tradition of clean elections, and good election systems, and there isn't any actual evidence of wrongdoing or fraud yet. But the pattern that you just described, as long as -- and as well as the ballots in the trunk and some other things -- raise concerns, and we need to make sure that the ballots are secure, the process is transparent, that there is a uniform standard, and that all these things are looked into and make sure that they are fully legitimate -- and that's gonna happen.

HANNITY: Does Norm Coleman have operatives or -- or members of his campaign now, 24 hours a day around these voting machines, et cetera?

PAWLENTY: Yeah, the news accounts suggest that he has dispatched people to watch the room, and there -- most of the counties' administrators, you know, have a room that's locked -- and this county that issued the court order, they actually only have two people can have access to it. People have to sign in or sign out; they have to explain why they would even go in the room in the first place. The campaign's gonna have monitors as to who would go into the room or out of the room. That's the kind of uniform standard we'd like all the counties to use, I know that those --

HANNITY: Has that been implemented? Here's the problem, though. Because there hasn't been a recount yet. Has that been implemented from -- from the day after election or no?

PAWLENTY: Day -- no. But --

HANNITY: That's a problem, Governor. Because that means it could have already happened.

PAWLENTY: That's also true. But there is no actual evidence, Sean. I wanna be clear. There's no actual evidence that there's been any fraud or problems there. There are these patterns of concern, and again, Norm's campaign and Franken's campaign were close as of a day ago to have an agreement about how to handle all this.

HANNITY: All right, Governor Tim Pawlenty. Appreciate you, updating on us -- updating for us these -- these goings-on in Minnesota. But it's somewhat frightening to me. All right, we gotta --

PAWLENTY: I understand.

HANNITY: Well, we'll stay on it. Appreciate it, Governor Pawlenty. Thank you.

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