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Coleman's big gamble: Alienating Minnesotans, ruining his future

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Norm Coleman vows to fight this Senate race to the death, but what is he risking by doing so? Pretty much everything, says Washington Post's Chris Cillizza at The Fix.

Cillizza analyzed Coleman's strategy and the big gamble he faces. Keep fighting and risk pissing off Minnesotans in the middle or save your hardcore supporters and donors who would disown you for giving up? It's not a fun place to be. Could Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Coleman self-destruct from this race? It's not looking good.

Coleman is only 59 and if he is successful he could still have a long life in politics ahead of him. Cillizza envisions him being a strong GOP candidate for governor if Pawlenty chooses not to run for reelection. Unfortunately this recount could be digging his grave for him.

More from Cillizza:

His allies argue that the people pushing hardest for Coleman to continue fighting or to get out today are the respective bases of the two parties who won't change their opinions regardless of how long the legal proceedings drag out.

And, in terms of a future race, Coleman will need those loyal activists in his corner if he ultimately comes up short. "Franken and Coleman have already upset everyone they're going to, and quitting early would disappoint donors and supporters invested in him," said one Republican strategist who has followed the Minnesota race closely.

True enough. But, the longer this race drags out, the more potential to alienate the vast middle of Minnesota politics -- those voters unaffiliated with either party who have elected among the most conservative Senators (Rod Grams), among the most liberal senators (Paul Wellstone) and certainly the strangest governor (Jesse Ventura).

Coleman's decision to fight on is a calculated gamble. The pot? His political future.

He uses Christine Jennings's 2006 race in Florida where she kept fighting after a close race. Voters grew sick of her. While Obama won with a strong lead there, she ended up losing by 18 points.