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Why the Minnesota Senate Recount and Court Challenge Is Helping the Federal Budget Deficit

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While Minnesota taxpayers are on the hook for approximately $200,000 to pay for its 62-day U.S. Senate race recount, that long process, and Norm Coleman's subsequent court challenge, is saving taxpayers' money nationwide as Minnesota's Class II Senate seat remains unoccupied.

Last month Smart Politics documented how the 'non-vacant' vacant seat is likely to cause the longest gap in representation in state history. Now, at a gap of 36 days and counting, the unoccupied seat is currently the third longest in Minnesota history, and, in one more week, will become the second longest - surpassing the gap that occurred after the death of Senator Ernest Lundeen in August 1940.

However, because Senator Coleman or Al Franken, if either had been seated on January 3rd, would have been drawing a per annum salary of $174,000 (up from $169,300 in 2008), the federal government is now saving nearly $500 per day while the seat remains unoccupied.

Members of Congress earn what amounts to $476.71 per day, and, at 36 days through Sunday, the federal government has now saved $17,161 on the would-be Minnesota Senator's salary alone, excluding benefits. With the Coleman challenge likely to draw on for several more weeks, Minnesota's too-close-to-call Senate race will likely save the federal government more than $30,000 in salary, and much more in benefits and staff and office expenses.

Understandably, in a month in which D.C. is preoccupied with multi-hundred billion dollar stimulus legislation, it is little wonder that this savings to the taxpayer is not headline news.

Previous post: Coleman Says 'God Wants Me to Serve'
Next post: Is Coleman's Hands-On Approach to His Court Challenge Going to Backfire?

1 Comment


  • Democrats will stop at nothing to steal this election....remember acorn??

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    Remains of the Data

    Who Has Won the Most Votes in US Senate Electoral History?

    Only three of the Top 10 and nine of the Top 50 vote-getters of all time are currently serving in the chamber.

    Political Crumbs

    Six for Thirteen

    Collin Peterson remarked last month that he is leaning to run for reelection to Minnesota's 7th Congressional District in 2016. If he does and is victorious, he will creep even closer to the top of the list of the longest-serving U.S. Representatives in Minnesota history. The DFL congressman is only the sixth Minnesotan to win at least 13 terms to the U.S. House of the 135 elected to the chamber in state history. Peterson trails 18-term DFLer Jim Oberstar (1975-2011), 16-term Republicans Harold Knutson (1917-1949) and August Andresen (1925-1933; 1935-1958), and 14-term DFLers Martin Sabo (1979-2007) and John Blatnik (1947-1974). Andresen died in office, Sabo and Blatnik retired, and Knutson and Oberstar were defeated at the ballot box in 1948 and 2010 respectively. At 70 years, 7 months, 11 days through Monday, Peterson is currently the ninth oldest Gopher State U.S. Representative in history. DFLer Rick Nolan of the 8th CD is the seventh oldest at 71 years, 1 month, 23 days.


    Seeing Red

    Congressman Nick Rahall's failed bid for a 20th term in West Virginia this cycle, combined with a narrow loss by Nick Casey to Alex Mooney in Shelley Moore Capito's open seat, means that West Virginia Democrats will be shut out of the state's U.S. House delegation for the first time in over 90 years. The Republican sweep by two-term incumbent David McKinley in the 1st CD, Mooney in the 2nd, and Evan Jenkins over Rahall in the 3rd marks the first time the GOP has held all seats in the chamber from West Virginia since the Election of 1920. During the 67th Congress (1921-1923) all six seats from the state were controlled by the GOP. Since the Election of 1922, Democrats have won 76 percent of all U.S. House elections in the Mountain State - capturing 172 seats compared to 54 for the GOP.


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