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Coleman to challenge recount in court

ST. PAUL - Norm Coleman will go to the courts in hopes of returning to the U.S. Senate.

Coleman announced this afternoon his campaign will contest the results of the statewide recount that gave him 225 fewer votes than Democrat Al Franken.

"As of today not every valid vote has been counted and some have been counted twice," Coleman said as he was surrounded by dozens of supporters in a packed room across the street from the Capitol building.

Coleman's announcement came a day after the state Canvassing Board approved the recount vote total that gave Franken a narrow margin.

Franken declared victory Monday and called himself "the next senator from Minnesota." The former "Saturday Night Live" comedian acknowledged further legal action was possible, but said he would focus on getting to work for Minnesotans.

State law says an election certificate cannot be issued until seven days after the vote is finalized, during which time a lawsuit challenging the result can be filed. In that case, the winner does not receive an election certificate until after the court challenge plays out.

The new Congress convened today with Minnesota represented by only one senator - Democrat Amy Klobuchar.

Franken took no questions from reporters huddled outside his Minneapolis home on Monday, and his campaign refused to say whether he planned to travel to Washington without an election certificate. Senate Democrats had raised the possibility of provisionally seating Franken, pending the outcome of a possible legal challenge, but later said that would not occur as the new Congress convened today.

The Canvassing Board's action wrapped up a two-month statewide recount with plenty of wrinkles and surprises. Coleman entered the recount leading Franken by more than 200 votes, but that flipped after the hand recount of 2.9 million ballots the counting of improperly rejected absentee ballots.

The official total gave Franken 1,212,431 votes to Coleman's 1,212,206.

Coleman's six-year Senate term ended Saturday and his offices were ordered closed Monday.