Minnesota Recount: Anything you can do, I can do better

posted at 9:00 pm on December 9, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Not too much to report on the recount today in Minnesota for the US Senate race between Al Franken and incumbent Norm Coleman, except that the Coleman campaign has reduced its challenges to more or less the same number as Franken.  Both campaigns have now withdrawn about a third of their original ballot challenges, bringing the total number to over 4,000.  The move shows that both campaigns have tried mirroring the others, and demonstrates the strategy employed by both throughout the recount process:

Sen. Norm Coleman’s campaign is withdrawing another 475 ballots that it challenged during the U.S. Senate recount, the lead campaign attorney said today.

That makes 1,125 challenges that the Republican candidate’s campaign has withdrawn, Fritz Knaak said.

That number approximates the number of challenged ballots that the campaign of DFLer Al Franken has yanked. On Monday, the Franken campaign announced that it was pulling back 425 challenges, on top of about 630 it withdrew last week.

Each campaign now has more than 2,000 challenged ballots left to be decided by the state Canvassing Board, which will meet next Tuesday to determine how they should be counted.

Team Franken lashed out at the Star Tribune today, criticizing its vote totals and claiming that they have the lead.  Franken’s lawyers tried to explain that they have better challenges than Coleman’s team, a point that will get settled by the Canvassing Board.  Minnesota Public Radio disagreed with that assessment after sampling one-sixth of the original ballot challenges.  One presumes that neither campaign would have parted with likely winners in the challenges.

So why did they issue so many challenges in the first place?  Both sides have learned lessons from the Christine Gregoire recount victory over Dino Rossi in Washington.  Democrats challenged everything they could, while Republicans scoffed at their profligacy.  The last laugh was on the GOP, though, because the challenges provided Gregoire her margin of victory.

Coleman’s team wanted to make sure that they didn’t fall for the same strategy.  They’ve been as aggressive as Franken has, and as MPR discovered, have apparently found better challenges.  Now that the recount is finished, Team Franken realizes that the Gregoire approach didn’t work, and they want to show some reasonableness in shedding the most ridiculous challenges to speed up the board’s work.  As long as Franken keeps declining challenges, expect Coleman to do the same.


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Loser.

manwithblackhat on December 9, 2008 at 9:05 PM

Team Franken realizes that the Gregoire approach didn’t work

It looks like Coleman will squeek out the win. I knew the Franken would have a tough time trying to steal this one because of what happened here in Washington in 2004. The democrats’ blatant tactics of obfuscating the recount can only work once. The GOP in Minnesota appears to have learned their lesson well.

Will the result of this whole mess be the breakout of CDS in Minnesota?

Mallard T. Drake on December 9, 2008 at 9:07 PM

Ed, sorry, but yer state is not impressing during this whole mess — here it is the 2nd week of december, the canvassing board doesn’t meet for another WEEK, and we still have to see pictures of stuart on our screens! enough!!
:-~

Buckaroo on December 9, 2008 at 9:08 PM

What an awful picture. I love it. :-)~

Gina on December 9, 2008 at 9:10 PM

Al Franken…all douchebag, all the time.

KSgop on December 9, 2008 at 9:23 PM

Franken Is just like Blagojevich crooks to the max.Iam so
dam sick of this crap.Franken the pig.Go back to saterday night live .So not funny then and today.Take that bum Obama with you.

Denniscat on December 9, 2008 at 9:33 PM

The last laugh was on the GOP, though, because the challenges provided Gregoire her margin of victory.

Ed-don’t you mean the last laugh was on the Democrats? Or an I missing something?

Del Dolemonte on December 9, 2008 at 9:34 PM

Minnesota–land of a thousand flakes.

FalseProfit on December 9, 2008 at 9:35 PM

It will be nice when we can finally send Franken packing back to the rock from whence he crawled.

t.ferg on December 9, 2008 at 9:37 PM

I believe the that after the current recount, Franken ended up being behind by forty five more votes than he was after the election.

What a colossal waste of time and money by the biggest asshat ever to run for office in MN; we had Ventura so that is really saying something..

Bishop on December 9, 2008 at 9:37 PM

There are a host of people here who are prepared to have Franken recalled if he tries to steal the election. We will have more than enough signatures given that more than half the state voted against him. I would like to recall Ritchie as well if he keeps trying to steal the election for his buddy. Believe me, everyone I’ve talked to here is upset with Franken at this point and even the idiots who voted for him are just silent. They know what he’s up to and they know they can’t defend him right now.

foxforce91 on December 9, 2008 at 9:47 PM

If Coleman wins, I’ll happily admit I was wrong when I declared Franken the winner. As soon as heard there’d be recount, I started to practice saying “Senator Franken”.

juliesa on December 9, 2008 at 9:57 PM

There are a host of people here who are prepared to have Franken recalled if he tries to steal the election.
foxforce91 on December 9, 2008 at 9:47 PM

Simply getting enough votes isn’t enough for a recall the way I read MN statute- there has to be specific cause (malfeasance, crime, failure to fulfill duties). Unfortunately, “being a douche” isn’t likely to cut it.

Hollowpoint on December 9, 2008 at 10:05 PM

Remember when Franken was writing and performing in SNL sketches? Looking back, and considering how nuts he is now, maybe he thought he was recreating reality.

Saturday Night Live: “Lyndon LaRouche Theatre” – April 19, 1986
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7786609813647356541

RBMN on December 9, 2008 at 10:19 PM

Hey Ed,

Are Coleman surporters, Coleman Thruthers.

LOL

kara26 on December 9, 2008 at 10:38 PM

Are Coleman surporters, Coleman Thruthers.

LOL

kara26 on December 9, 2008 at 10:38 PM

Careful, you are on the verge of being labled “deranged”. But if you are, you will be in good company…

Hog Wild on December 9, 2008 at 10:45 PM

If Coleman wins, I’ll happily admit I was wrong when I declared Franken the winner. As soon as heard there’d be recount, I started to practice saying “Senator Franken”.

juliesa on December 9, 2008 at 9:57 PM

same here, right after the election, I figured Franken would find a way to steal it..NOW, things are looking better for Norm

Red State State of Mind on December 9, 2008 at 10:49 PM

Ah, the democrat strategy – keep counting until the Dem wins. Gregoire is the worst governor in American history. Period.

savvydude on December 9, 2008 at 10:58 PM

Team Franken lashed out at the Star Tribune today, criticizing its vote totals and claiming that they have the lead. Franken’s lawyers tried to explain that they have better challenges than Coleman’s team, a point that will get settled by the Canvassing Board. Minnesota Public Radio disagreed with that assessment after sampling one-sixth of the original ballot challenges.

You know, when you lose the Star-Trib and Minnesota Public Radio, it might be time to start considering that even your expected ideological soulmates aren’t going to carry the torch for your ballot challenges forever.

jon1979 on December 9, 2008 at 11:16 PM

No one has ever accused Franken of having any class.

GarandFan on December 9, 2008 at 11:29 PM

This guy is like a bad dream, he just won’t go away. Enough already, you lost and Dingy Harry can’t keep his promise and help you.

Texas Dude on December 9, 2008 at 11:39 PM

The Coleman campaign gets muchos kudos for fighting back using the Dems’ own tactics. It’s about time somebody did. May the rest of the Republican party take note.

Nevicata on December 9, 2008 at 11:45 PM

Just let me know when I can get my “Franken, fastest way out of state, that-a-way —>” sign out.

oakpack on December 9, 2008 at 11:50 PM

But the big question is Did Ed frame his email from Al?

Connie on December 10, 2008 at 12:52 AM

So when is that ‘Lake Wobegone’ guy going to run for office? I hear he’s a real firecracker with the crowds.

rihar on December 10, 2008 at 1:08 AM

So when is that ‘Lake Wobegone’ guy going to run for office? I hear he’s a real firecracker with the crowds.

rihar on December 10, 2008 at 1:08 AM

In real life, when he’s not on the radio, Keillor is even colder and more condescending than Franken is–a pompous jerk.

RBMN on December 10, 2008 at 1:33 AM

Ah, the democrat strategy – keep counting until the Dem wins. Gregoire is the worst governor in American history. Period.

savvydude

Must be a real pip if she beats out Blaggo in Illinois.

SKYFOX on December 10, 2008 at 5:25 AM

Minnesota has to be one of the, if not the, dumbest States in America… Stupid voters, stupid Officials… It’s just sad that idiots get the same exact vote as educated people in States that are NOT messed up like Minnesota. What a waste of a good land mass, moron Liberals in a worthless State run by idiots and RE-RELECTED over and over to destroy even more… Even the idiots in New Orleans voted out “cold cash” Jeffers… Minnesota is a national JOKE!

Mark Garnett on December 10, 2008 at 7:46 AM

idiots and RE-RELECTED

DOH! (ok, so I went to public school in Minnesota, sue me!)

:) rofl

Mark Garnett on December 10, 2008 at 7:47 AM

malfeasance, crime, failure to fulfill duties

Hollowpoint on December 9, 2008 at 10:05 PM</blockquote

Pretty much sums up the Demoncraps.

mr.blacksheep on December 10, 2008 at 9:19 AM

Sorry I finger-fumbled the end of the block quote. I think you get what I mean.

mr.blacksheep on December 10, 2008 at 9:19 AM

I looked over the PDF copies of the challenged ballots for seven counties where all of them were posted on the MPR website. About half of the challenged ballots were clear votes for one candidate or the other, with NOTHING wrong with them. Most of the others had marks like an X or check-mark in the oval or near a Senate candidate’s name, and the voter would use the same mark in the Presidential race and House race, so these too could be counted based on “intent of the voter”.

If these ballots are counted as votes for the marked candidate, the resulting votes undid the shift due to the recount within 3 votes in all seven counties. If this pattern holds through the other counties, over 95% of the challenges are frivolous, with only a scant few being true overvotes or impossible to assign to a candidate.

It appears that Team Franken tried the Gregoire strategy of challenging large numbers of ballots to give the perception that the recount was favoring Franken, by deducting votes from Coleman’s total. If this perception was allowed to pervade the media for three weeks before the challenged ballots were reviewed, then the Canvassing Board rejected the vast majority of the challenges and declared Coleman the winner, it would “appear” that Coleman “stole” the election by manipulating the Canvassing Board.

So Team Coleman replied tit-for-tat by challenging slightly more ballots than Franken did (probably on the same criteria that Franken did), which allowed his apparent lead to INCREASE slightly, which did not allow the media to spin a story about the recount favoring Franken. With a lot of the challenged ballots posted online, it’s becoming obvious to most fair-minded people that most of the challenges on BOTH sides are frivolous, so both campaigns are withdrawing frivolous challenges at an equal rate to not “appear” to be making frivolous challenges to “steal” the election, and Coleman is still leading.

On the “missing ballot” front, we had one batch of uncounted ballots show up that favored Franken by 33 votes, and another precinct discover that they double-counted a batch of ballots, and undoing that error favors Coleman by 46 votes–pretty much a wash.

You’ve got to credit Team Coleman with good PR management. The media spin is now:

Original Count: Coleman has a small lead.

Recount + Unresolved Challenges: Coleman has a small lead.

Prediction for Canvassing Board: Most challenges rejected, Coleman has a small lead.

These results are remarkably consistent, so any attempt to declare Franken the winner through the courts or the Senate will look like Franken stealing the election. Perception is everything, and Team Coleman is WINNING the battle of perception!

Steve Z on December 10, 2008 at 10:22 AM

Minnesota has to be one of the, if not the, dumbest States in America… Stupid voters, stupid Officials… It’s just sad that idiots get the same exact vote as educated people in States that are NOT messed up like Minnesota. What a waste of a good land mass, moron Liberals in a worthless State run by idiots and RE-RELECTED over and over to destroy even more… Even the idiots in New Orleans voted out “cold cash” Jeffers… Minnesota is a national JOKE!

While there are some idiots in Minnesota (that’s obvious from some of the ballots posted on MPR), Norm Coleman is a credit to his adopted state, if he can be re-elected. He’s a rather common-sense guy from Brooklyn, who did an excellent job leading the Senate investigation into Saddam’s Oil-for-Food scandal, and over 1.2 million Minnesotans had the good sense to vote for him.

Every village has its idiot, and big cities have thousands of them, but there’s a good chance that the class(less) clown Franken will never be a Senator.

Steve Z on December 10, 2008 at 10:36 AM

I’m still waiting for the last shoe to drop and Coleman unequivocally declared the winner before I bust out my new name for his lame opponent: “Senator Al Failure”.
But watch for it-it’s coming soon, and we may have a Frankenless Christmas after all.

Doug on December 10, 2008 at 11:49 AM