At least in the recount itself.  The margin separating Al Franken from Norm Coleman may look small — and it is — but it’s big enough to withstand the pending challenges, according to Ramsey County’s election manager:

While a tiny margin separates the candidates in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race, it is wide enough that Democrat Al Franken faces a daunting task in challenging votes to erase Sen. Norm Coleman’s lead.

The two sides have disputed thousands of the other’s votes, but many of those challenges are regarded by experts as frivolous.

To win his case before the state Canvassing Board, Franken must prevail on more than 6 percent of his challenges of Coleman votes even if Coleman fails to succeed on any of his challenges, a Star Tribune analysis shows.

If the outcome of past election disputes provides a clue, Franken will have a hard time reversing enough votes to win, said one veteran elections official who has been involved in the Senate recount.

“Based upon the kinds of challenges I’ve been looking at in the last two weeks, I think that’s just not going to happen,” said Joe Mansky, Ramsey County elections manager.

The recount will finish this week, at which point the Canvassing Board will start to address the challenged ballots.  Both sides have challenged almost equal numbers of them, but Franken has to outperform Coleman on challenges by 6% in order to overcome Coleman’s lead.  We’ve already seen the kinds of challenges Franken has filed, and Mansky may have understated Franken’s chances of prevailing.

This election will go to the courts in the end.  Franken thinks he can overcome Coleman with a selective look at the rejected absentee ballots, but that again presumes that Franken voters are at least 6% less adept overall than Coleman voters.  I’ll leave the irony of that assumption for Hot Air readers to ponder.

Tags: Minnesota