Norm Coleman Breaks with GOP Party Leadership on Gonzales Vote

Republican Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman continues to part from his party leadership on the Attorney General Alberto Gonzales issue. On Monday Coleman joined 6 other Republican Senators in a failed attempt (53-38) to invoke cloture for a Senate resolution condemning the beleaguered Attorney General, who is embroiled in an executive-legislative brouhaha regarding the firing of U.S. attorneys. Sixty votes are needed in the Senate to invoke cloture.

Coleman has already publicly called for Gonzales’ resignation. Joining Coleman on Monday’s vote were Upper Midwestern Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar (MN), Tom Harkin (IA), Russ Feingold (WI), and Herb Kohl (WI). Charles Grassley (R-IA) voted with the Republican leadership and recovering South Dakota Senator Tim Johnson was not present for the vote.

Of the six other Republican Senators to join Coleman, four are from the East (Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins from Maine, John Sununu from New Hampshire, and Arlen Specter of Pennyslvania), one from the Midwest (maverick Republican Chuck Hagel from Nebraska), and one from the West (Gordon Smith of Oregon). Smith, Hagel, Collins, Sununu, and Coleman are all up for reelection in 2008.

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