Minnesota Senate: Recount assured; Update: 726-vote victory for Coleman

posted at 8:55 am on November 5, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

With the ability to filibuster in the balance for Republicans, Minnesota’s Senate race becomes even more critical — and it’s likely to take days to figure out who won.  Norm Coleman and Al Franken had a photo finish in their race, and even now the count continues — with Coleman ahead by 1,123 votes and nine precincts left to report.  That will trigger an automatic recount:

Sen. Norm Coleman is leading Democratic challenger Al Franken in one of the most bitter U.S. Senate races in Minnesota history.

With 99 percent of the 4,130  precincts reporting, Coleman maintains an unofficial margin of  less than 800  votes out of nearly 2.9 million cast, almost assuring that there will be a recount.  Required in races with a winning margin of less than one half of 1 percent, the recount could delay a final result for days while ballots are retabulated across the state.

By law, Franken could waive a recount, but that seems highly unlikely.

That would take a great deal of class and selflessness, two qualities that have yet to be seen in Franken.  Truthfully, though, the recount provision exists for good reason: to ensure we get the right results in our elections.  If it comes down to this thin of a margin, a recount should take place.

Thankfully, we don’t have a majority requirement in Minnesota as Georgia does, because Franken would probably win a run-off, I’m embarrassed to say.  Dean Barkley pulled more Democrats than Republicans in Minnesota and may have given Coleman his re-election.  Most of us expected Coleman to win handily, but the overwhelming win for Barack Obama allowed Franken to draft behind him — although Minnesotans split tickets to support Norm in the end.

It doesn’t look like we’ll have a definitive answer for days here.  Right now, the Republicans have confirmed 40 seats, and Saxby Chambliss may still avoid a runoff in Georgia and claim a 41st seat.  Gordon Smith had edged ahead of Jeff Merkeley in Oregon, and if that holds up, we may have a pleasant surprise.  We may yet get the 57-43 split I predicted on Monday, but I’d bet Minnesota will be the last to clinch.

Update: The final numbers show Norm Coleman beating Al Franken by 726 votes:

NORM COLEMAN…..1211627    42.00
AL FRANKEN…………1210901    41.97


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First Ventura and now perhaps Franken. Crazy.

Mr. Bingley on November 5, 2008 at 9:05 AM

So to help me from thinking that Minnesotans are bats**t crazy, can someone explain the Independent candidate to me in terms of why so many votes and if the Independent were not in the race where those votes would likely go?

Natalie on November 5, 2008 at 9:06 AM

Al’s already talking about lawyers. He won’t go quietly. He never does.

Mr. D on November 5, 2008 at 9:06 AM

Good. When Franken starts ranting and raving like a certified lunatic fresh out of escaping from the asylum that he is being robbed, Minnesota and the rest of the country will finally see just what type of nutcase loose cannon he really is.

pilamaye on November 5, 2008 at 9:06 AM

What is in the water up there, Ed? Y’all are crazy sometimes, it seems! ;)

JamesLee on November 5, 2008 at 9:06 AM

I grew up in MN and it is one of the most bizarre of states in their politics. I really had hoped that after their ridiculous “anti politics as usual” pic of Jessie “The Body” Ventura for Governor a few years back they would have learned something. Evidently not. Now we’ll go to a recount and if that airbag Franken gets in the Senate we can only hope that Hillary will put a hambone in his blasted mouth and shut him up. MN…WAKE UP!!!!

lyfsatrip on November 5, 2008 at 9:07 AM

Assuming Coleman’s victory holds up, we’ll hear how he stole this one (with Karl Rove’s help) for the next six years.

perroviejo on November 5, 2008 at 9:07 AM

Good. When Franken starts ranting and raving like a certified lunatic fresh out of escaping from the asylum that he is being robbed, Minnesota and the rest of the country will finally see just what type of nutcase loose cannon he really is.

pilamaye on November 5, 2008 at 9:06 AM

Hey . . . Minnesota is the asylum and Al fits fits right in there.

rplat on November 5, 2008 at 9:09 AM

Rino verse a wino

grapeknutz on November 5, 2008 at 9:10 AM

What about the race between Madia and Paulsen?

mram on November 5, 2008 at 9:10 AM

In this case, gimme the Rino.

doufree on November 5, 2008 at 9:11 AM

Depressing that such a putrid skunk of a human being could get so many votes. What is this place coming to?

petefrt on November 5, 2008 at 9:14 AM

Obama, Murtha and Franken… my grandfathers who fought for this country and their fathers who risked their lives to come to this country for opportunties are turning in their graves right now. This is not the America they envisioned.

beththebaker on November 5, 2008 at 9:14 AM

God have mercy on us.

atemely on November 5, 2008 at 9:15 AM

Most of us expected Coleman to win handily, but the overwhelming win for Barack Obama allowed Franken to draft behind him — although Minnesotans split tickets to support Norm in the end.

Which is why a runoff may not have been a bad thing. Without Obama to help Franken, Coleman may be better off. Also, he would be able to argue that reelecting him provides at least some check on Democratic excess in Washington by preserving a viable filibuster.

msyb on November 5, 2008 at 9:16 AM

Better a Rino than a Wino.

bopbottle on November 5, 2008 at 9:17 AM

There will be a lot of new faces in the Senate. Add two for Obama and Biden.

Amphipolis on November 5, 2008 at 9:17 AM

The balance of power comes down to a few votes in a state that favors nutbag wrestlers and raving-mad, tax-evading comedians.

I’ve never had the pleasure to travel to Minnesota, and methinks I’ll stay down here in Tennessee.

Good news for my state though–Republicans won big last night and now we have control of the state legislature! WOOHOO! In one of the congressional districts a Republican woman won a seat that has been occupied by a Democrat since THE CIVIL WAR!

Yes, we do have 10% sales tax, but we ain’t got no stinkin’ state income tax. Home prices are good and unemployment is pretty low (I think).

Plus, the women have lovely southern accents and are totally hot.

Tennessee welcomes you with open arms!

robblefarian on November 5, 2008 at 9:19 AM

Michael Barone, whom I trust more than any other pundit/political analyst out there, says Coleman will emerge victorious. Minnesota’s voting methods are pure.

BradC on November 5, 2008 at 9:19 AM

Well, we knew the moonbats were itching for a legal catfight somewhere in this election. Looks like they got one. Will be interesting to see how ugly they get. It appears Coleman carried the vst majority of counties and I would bet he picks up votes in a recount.

What’s the policy on military ballots in Minnesota? Might we have to wait several days for them to arrive?

rockmom on November 5, 2008 at 9:19 AM

Living in MN, for many years, I still don’t think I understand WHY they vote as they do. This state scares the hell out of me and if Franken does win… I have NO respect for this state’s citizens….none. Good thing my son is grown up, we can move if necessary.

MNDavenotPC on November 5, 2008 at 9:20 AM

Living in MN, for many years, I still don’t think I understand WHY they vote as they do. This state scares the hell out of me and if Franken does win… I have NO respect for this state’s citizens….none. Good thing my son is grown up, we can move if necessary.

MNDavenotPC on November 5, 2008 at 9:20 AM

There’s a nice house up for sale across the street from me, good sir. See my above post.

robblefarian on November 5, 2008 at 9:23 AM

the Obama wave took out a rising star in GOP in NC Governors race. basically because of heavy black turnout voting straight ticket, combined with Eastern/Rural NC hate of Charlotte that has always been there. McCrory wins re-election for mayor in Charlotte in landslides, lost it I beleive last night

jp on November 5, 2008 at 9:24 AM

What about the race between Madia and Paulsen?

mram on November 5, 2008 at 9:10 AM

Paulsen ended up winning fairly comfortably. Good thing, too, because Aswin Madia ran an even more dishonest campaign than Franken did, which is a good trick.

Mr. D on November 5, 2008 at 9:24 AM

I am not sure why you believe a the current Republicans would support a filibuster. when the Republicans had control of Congress they followed meakly behind the Democrat minority. Most Republicans in Congress are spineless as it is, what would change if the Democrats had a supermajority?

Rode Werk on November 5, 2008 at 9:25 AM

What about the race between Madia and Paulsen?

mram on November 5, 2008 at 9:10 AM

Paulsen won, as did Bachmann who retained her seat.

After 12 years living in MN, I still do not understand the love affair Minnesotans have with taxes and liberalism. Must be something the Scandahovians brought with them….

Blue-eyed Infidel on November 5, 2008 at 9:26 AM

Al Freakin-Frankin. UNbelievable.

Jewels on November 5, 2008 at 9:30 AM

Minnesota has removed all doubt that mental illness is rampant in their state. When I was in Canada a few months ago, there was an article that one (1) out of every five (5) Canadians were effected by mental illness. I guess liberalism is just migrating south.

volsense on November 5, 2008 at 9:35 AM

WHERE’S THE MISSING VOTES?

I’ve been the only person to address this so far; so I’ll do it again!

We heard all the yadda yadda about “Hitoric Turnout”; etc.!

That did NOT happen!

There were over 121 Million Votes cast during the Bush-Kerry Presidential Election.

Bush: 62,040,610
Kerry: 59,028,444

So far, with this election, we have:

Obama: 62,532,271
McCain: 55,454,540

That’s just over 117 Million so far; or 4 Million LESS total votes than in 2004. That is significant.

Obama has now outperformed Bush, by 500,000, and Kerry by 3.5 million; that’s historic for a Democrat, and a winner of the election. But McCain has underperformed Bush by 6.5 Million!; and Kerry by 3.5 million!

In raw votes; if half a million of Kerry’s votes migrated to Obama this election, there’s still over 4million votes Missing compared to last election!

Bottomline; 4 Million+ People this Election; did NOT VOTE, compared to last election!

Obama’s extra 3.5 million votes over Kerry in 2004 did not come from “Republicans” or “Conservatives” crossing over in any great numbers to vote for him; they came from new registrations, Voter Fraud, Fake Votes, Mulitple Voters, etc., that is typical of Democrats.

And it’s actually worse for McCain, because the exist data I saw last night on TV, showed that McCain actually did have at least a 10%+ PUMA effect!; so without them, and the Excitement that was generated by Palin; he’d had been really, really slaughtered!

Bottomline: even with Palin exciting the base, and the PUMA effect; McCain failed to generate any excitement in the Republican/Conservative Base, to the detriment of at least 4 million votes!

That’s McCain’s fault, and I’m frankly not suprised; considering how terrible of a candidate he really, truly is/was!

But considering what a very real danger Obama is to America; and his very real Anti-American/Pro-Jihadi/Anti-White/Anti-Semitic Racist Marxist-Muslim Roots, the fact that those missing 4 Million voters couldn’t get out and cast one for the future well-being of America, is also nothing short of disgraceful!

Dale in Atlanta on November 5, 2008 at 9:38 AM

Very possible that the Dems try to turn another Senate seat or two by offering Dick Lugar and/or Chuck Hagel Cabinet posts. Lugar’s seat might be tough to hang on to now.

rockmom on November 5, 2008 at 9:39 AM

I know it might be a bit early for Monday morning quarter backing but would it have killed Coleman to give Franken the George Allen treatment? I mean just have someone follow Franken around with a camera waiting for him to blow up. (Preferable a cute co-ed so even if he didn’t blow up he wouldn’t be able to help showing his sexist side.)

Dave_d on November 5, 2008 at 9:39 AM

Let’s not forget Ted Stevens somehow keeping his seat. I sincerely hope he will vacate as soon as possible and Gov. Palin can put someone in her own image in his place.

sobincorporated on November 5, 2008 at 9:44 AM

Dale in Atlanta on November 5, 2008 at 9:38 AM

Dale, I believe that 2004 represented a high water mark for Republican turnout. Say what you want about Karl Rove, but he engineered a campaign that drove millions of marginal GOP voters to the polls. The vast majority of them are evangelicals, who responded mostly to the marriage initiatives that Rove got on state ballots in places like Ohio. Theye didn’t vote in 2000, which is why Bush lost the popular vote. Rove’s entire focus in Bush’s first term was to get them to the polls in 2004, and he did.

Bush was also helped by the “security moms” who responded to the Beslan massacre and the last-minute Osama Bin Laden tape. I know a lot of these moms, and a lot of them voted this time for Obama or did not vote at all.

It was a brilliant tactical victory that allowed Bush to eke out a narrow victory, but it did not produce a sustainable Republican majority. And McCain’s campaign offered nothing to these voters, while also doing nothing to try to move to the center and capture more independents and young voters to make up for the loss.

rockmom on November 5, 2008 at 9:46 AM

An aside: Did Biden win his senatorial seat in Delaware, as well? If so, what happens to it now?

onlineanalyst on November 5, 2008 at 9:48 AM

What is in the water up there, Ed? Y’all are crazy sometimes, it seems! ;)

JamesLee on November 5, 2008 at 9:06 AM

Yep. Definitely something funny in one of those 10,000 Lakes up there.

pilamaye on November 5, 2008 at 9:53 AM

So to help me from thinking that Minnesotans are bats**t crazy, can someone explain the Independent candidate to me in terms of why so many votes and if the Independent were not in the race where those votes would likely go?

Natalie on November 5, 2008 at 9:06 AM

Dean Barkley and I have been friends for over 35 years. We played rugby together for a number of years.
Dean has been running for office in Minnesota for 14 years. In a parade in his home town of Annandale he saw Ventura and had an “Ah, ha!” moment. Jesse ran for governor in 1998 with Dean running the campaign. He ran against Norm Coleman and Skip Humphrey (son of Hubert). The Star Tribune pulled to get jesse into the debate thinking that he would pull votes from Norm then endorsed Skip 10 days or so out. Skip came in 3rd. Jesse pulled more votes from Skip than from Norm. I also believe that early that Wednesday morning in 1998, Jesse and Dean looked at each other and said “We won!…What the hell do we do now?”
But the reason Jesse won was because he wasn’t “one of them”. He wasn’t a Republican or a democrat. Jesse had a great opportunity to open up the process to third parties. He blew it. He had and has real thin skin. And a huge ego. A bad combination in politics. Especially your first go around.
When Wellstone died and Dean was appointed to fill the remainder Wellstone’s term, it gave him notoriety.
Now that there is some context, I believe again that the Barkley vote again was that Dean isn’t “one of them”. People like me are not and were not energized by Coleman, McCain et al, at all. Franken was such a joke (no pun intended) but he had the “D” after his name and he wasn’t that dirty, filthy Coleman who was an “R”. So, those people who wouldn’t vote for Coleman or were disaffected and couldn’t vote for the joke called Franken thought Dean was a third way.I also suspect that there was a protest vote against Coleman in there. In 1990 we had a fairly respectable Senator Rudy Boschwitz. In the 1990 election people voted for Wellstone as a protest. The next morning many were writing and calling in saying that they never thought that Wellstone would win. They just wanted to spank Rudy. Well, Rudy got fatally spanked. A vote is a decision with a consequence.
As we’re about to see. Big time.
A twisted form of entertainment is going to watch the lefties blame the upcoming disaster(s) on Bush. I made a comment last night that in 2043 the lefties are going to dig up George Bush and impeach him.

Amendment X on November 5, 2008 at 10:02 AM

Unofficial final result – Coleman by 571

Franken already screaming for a recount – BLECH this isn’t over – BLECH!

gophergirl on November 5, 2008 at 10:10 AM

He had and has real thin skin. And a huge ego. A bad combination in politics. Especially your first go around.

Sounds like another executive-elect we know.

But thank you for the analysis – I think you’re right on the money. I was a Carleton student when Wellstone was elected, so I remember how that went down.

Missy on November 5, 2008 at 10:12 AM

Bet you Acorn had a lot to do with Franken votes.

mariloubaker on November 5, 2008 at 10:20 AM

Norm should go to the Mayo Clinic, because Al Franken is like a cancerous tumor.

Mr. Joe on November 5, 2008 at 10:32 AM

My wife grew up in Minnesota, and her family always joked about Jerry Brown here in California.

Oh lookie, now it’s a two-way street. Al Franken? Really? What is wrong with you people?

juanito on November 5, 2008 at 10:35 AM

What is wrong with you people?

juanito on November 5, 2008 at 10:35 AM

That’s a question that can be asked of a lot of people, juanito. And not just here in Minnesota. We sure the heck don’t need a Udall infestation in the Senate, either, to name just two examples of what went wrong yesterday.

Mr. D on November 5, 2008 at 10:41 AM

I hope any re-count will account for (and throw out) fraudulent or illegitimate votes. If so, Norm should be OK.

edgehead on November 5, 2008 at 10:41 AM

Coleman will win! He has the votes.

Aronne on November 5, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Aronne on November 5, 2008 at 10:57 AM

Yes please yes please yes please yes please.

I have been able to maintain a modicum of optimism this morning in light of the POTUS results, but adding Senator Clown to the toxic mix of Obama/Pelosi/Reid will send me over the edge.

Brat on November 5, 2008 at 11:01 AM

Time for the Lawyer Battalion to hit Saint Paul.

Amazed on November 5, 2008 at 11:07 AM

Class.

Al Franken.

Yup, can’t get them into the same sentence.

Bruno Strozek on November 5, 2008 at 11:10 AM

Good. When Franken starts ranting and raving like a certified lunatic fresh out of escaping from the asylum that he is being robbed, Minnesota and the rest of the country will finally see just what type of nutcase loose cannon he really is.

pilamaye on November 5, 2008 at 9:06 AM
Hey . . . Minnesota is the asylum and Al fits fits right in there.

rplat on November 5, 2008 at 9:09 AM

As a resident of said asylum, I can verify that.

foxforce91 on November 5, 2008 at 11:18 AM

That’s a question that can be asked of a lot of people, juanito. And not just here in Minnesota. We sure the heck don’t need a Udall infestation in the Senate, either, to name just two examples of what went wrong yesterday.

That can be asked of my home state of Massachusetts as well. You know the old yarn about the only way he’d lose is if he got caught with a dead girl or a live boy? Both happened here and both we re-elected.

Dave_d on November 5, 2008 at 11:23 AM

Both happened here and both we re-elected.

Err can’t edit but I meant to say
Both were re-elected. (Yes, really)

Dave_d on November 5, 2008 at 11:24 AM

DFL: “Oh, my – look – an entire machine full of ballots that didn’t get counted!…”

eeyore on November 5, 2008 at 11:25 AM

An aside: Did Biden win his senatorial seat in Delaware, as well? If so, what happens to it now?

onlineanalyst on November 5, 2008 at 9:48 AM

Yes, he did, unfortunately (well, the good news is that after 37 years, he’s FINALLY gone from the US Senate!). He got about 65% of the vote here. Idiot Delawareans pretty much vote Dem all the way down the ticket.

What happens now is that the Governor (both our current governor and governor-elect are Dems) get to appoint Biden’s successor. Rumors are swirling that Biden cut a deal with the Dem party that if Obama offered him the VP spot, he would only accept it if they agreed to appoint his son (currently state Attorney General) to his Senate seat. We’ll soon see if that turns out to be true.

UltimateBob on November 5, 2008 at 11:43 AM

According to the Red Star: state map of senate results.

My friends, please don’t judge us all by this vote. There are countless colleges in MN. And for some odd reason the loons in the academy in MN get their jollies by see how liberal/irrational they can be … Mondale in ’84, Ventura (will MN ever live him down), and now possibly Franken … again, I apologize for my fellow Land o’ Lakers.

parcley on November 5, 2008 at 12:27 PM

Y’all should treat me like a gentleman today-my Coleman vote may have been one of the 800 or so keeping Franken from the US Senate. No one should ever think that their votes don’t count.

Doug on November 5, 2008 at 12:31 PM

addendum: the single largest employer in MN is the MN state government when you take into account the education unions … I’m surprised we’re as red as we are …

parcley on November 5, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Over a million people voted for the vulgar, ignorant, buffoonish stinkbag? Sheeesh!

whitetop on November 5, 2008 at 12:35 PM

MN state motto quickly becoming the “Land of 1,000 Flakes”

ztower on November 5, 2008 at 1:17 PM

MN state motto quickly becoming the “Land of 1,000 1,210,895 Flakes”
ztower on November 5, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Fixed

eeyore on November 5, 2008 at 1:33 PM

I heard on the radio that the Secretary of State said that the recount will start early next month with results by the end of December.

My question, why so long? Why not start today? How can we be assured that the ballots will remain secure in the interim?
What possible reason can there be for such a delay?

MTinMN on November 5, 2008 at 2:38 PM

Over a million people voted for the vulgar, ignorant, buffoonish stinkbag? Sheeesh!

whitetop on November 5, 2008 at 12:35 PM

Must be the snowbacks that crossed over Canada.

grapeknutz on November 5, 2008 at 2:41 PM

parcley on November 5, 2008 at 12:27 PM
“According to the Red Star: state map of senate results.”

Indeed! You’ve got that right! Did you happen to see the numbers they originally posted for Coleman and Franken? Their totals were only about 240 or so apart. I have no idea where they got those numbers! Well . . . I have an idea, but I don’t like to think about it!

But they changed the graphic, and the Strib now says the result (for the top two) was Coleman: “1,211,616″ and Franken: “1,210,895″

Those are the current 100% numbers, per the Sec’y of States’s Office. The difference between the two is 721 votes.

These numbers represent a minor readjustment of both totals as they were posted earlier this morning. The difference between those earlier final numbers was 726. The original “final” numbers posted were Coleman: “1,211,627″ and Franken: “1,210,901″ hence, slight downward adjustments for both of them.

An earlier Strib story today said the following:

With 100 percent of the 4,130 precincts reporting, Coleman had an unofficial margin of a few hundred votes out of nearly 2.9 million cast. Recounts are required in races with a winning margin of less than one-half of 1 percent.

A few hundred is NOT 721, period!

And recounts are NOT required. You are entitled to one, but you can certainly waive it.

Al now says:

There is reason to believe that the recount could change the vote tallies significantly.

But he won’t say what the “reason” is except some polling place ran out of “registration” materials.

Well, as somebody once said, “That’s just stinkin’ thinkin!”

Trochilus on November 5, 2008 at 3:00 PM

Glad we don’t have to deal with Franken. Not exactly a man of dignity.

Prufrock on November 5, 2008 at 3:34 PM