Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


How Will the National Media Cover the Franken vs. Coleman Recount?

Bookmark and Share

As the headline of Barack Obama’s historic victory begins to fade and political reporters and analysts need to turn their attention elsewhere, it is likely the recount in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race will satisfy their cravings and subsequently garner even more national attention.

To date, due to its understandably Obama-centric coverage, the national media has largely made only passing references to the close battle and forthcoming recount here in the Gopher State (as well as the shocking election results in the Alaska Senate race, with convicted felon Ted Stevens in a fight for his political life).

Still, there are a number of reasons the Al Franken-Norm Coleman matchup should begin to draw more of the media’s eye: 1) the race was the most expensive U.S. Senate contest in the nation in 2008, 2) the race features a well-known celebrity in Franken, and 3) the race had the strongest performance by a third-party candidate in any U.S. Senate matchup this year.

The stance of some national media figures will be quite predictable: Bill O’Reilly, a long-time adversary of Franken, has already weighed in on his program, stating last week how he was befuddled as to how any American could vote for this “evil? man. O’Reilly made no mention on his program as to how nearly 50 percent of Alaskans could vote for a (Republican) felon in a U.S. Senate race.

Perhaps some of the media will recast the recount as the 2008 version of Gore vs. Bush. The media tried to do this with Kerry vs. Bush in Ohio in 2004, but the story did not have any legs. The true sequel to Gore vs. Bush in 2004 was Washington’s Gubernatorial contest in which Democrat Christine Gregoire defeated Republican Dino Rossi by 129 votes. That race also featured a highly controversial recount – as well as a rematch in 2008 (which Gregoire won by 7 points; it is doubtful, should Franken lose the recount, that the DFL will give him a second chance to oust Coleman).

Some political reporters will undoubtedly frame their story as another instance of Minnesota wackiness: “This is the state that elected former wrestler Jesse Ventura, so it is no surprise nearly half the state is willing to send a comedian to D.C.…?

The question the media should pose is how it is that Republicans continue to edge out DFLers in high profile races in Minnesota in Democratic wave election years (in 2006 with Tim Pawlenty, and in 2008 with Coleman and 6th CD Representative Michele Bachmann).

Smart Politics will continue to keep an eye and ear on the national media as they descend upon the Gopher State to cover the recount.

Previous post: Green Party Sets Personal Best in Minnesota's HD 61B Contest
Next post: Inside Obama's Landslide: The Young Man Went West

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

Which States Have the Longest and Shortest Election Day Voting Hours?

Residents in some North Dakota towns have less than half as many hours to cast their ballots as those in New York State.

Political Crumbs

Does My Key Still Work?

Much has been made about Charlie Crist's political transformation from Republican to independent to Democrat en route to winning the Florida GOP and Democratic gubernatorial nominations over a span of eight years. Party-switching aside, Crist is also vying to become just the second Florida governor to serve two interrupted terms. Democrat William Bloxham was the first - serving four year terms from 1881 to 1885 and then 1897 to 1901. Florida did not permit governors serving consecutive terms for most of its 123 years prior to changes made in its 1968 constitution. Since then four have done so: Democrats Reubin Askew, Bob Graham, and Lawton Chiles and Republican Jeb Bush.


No 100-Year Curse for Roberts

Defeating his Tea Party primary challenger Milton Wolf with just 48.1 percent of the vote, Pat Roberts narrowly escaped becoming the first elected U.S. Senator from Kansas to lose a renomination bid in 100 years. The last - and so far only - elected U.S. Senator to lose a Kansas primary was one-term Republican Joseph Bristow in 1914. Bristow was defeated by former U.S. Senator Charles Curtis who went on to win three terms before becoming Herbert Hoover's running mate in 1928. Only one other U.S. Senator from the Sunflower State has lost a primary since the passage of the 17th Amendment: Sheila Frahm in 1996. Frahm was appointed to fill Bob Dole's seat earlier that year and finished 13.2 points behind Sam Brownback in the three-candidate primary field. Overall, incumbent senators from Kansas have won 29 times against two defeats in the direct vote era. (Curtis also lost a primary in 1912 to Walter Stubbs, one year before the nation moved to direct elections).


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting