So says the AP; the Strib puts it at five. Either way, the distinguished gentleman from Saturday Night Live is within single digits of the Senate. Between this and the fait accompli of Caroline Kennedy’s appointment, we’re on the brink of a perfect ending to an utterly wretched year. Let’s get on with it. All we’re doing is delaying a court battle anyway.

Sen. Norm Coleman saw his lead over Al Franken in Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race dwindle to just two votes Thursday. Meanwhile, a key court ruling put hundreds of improperly rejected ballots in play and promised the recount would drag into the new year…

Coleman’s lead eroded all day Thursday as the Canvassing Board considered a pile of challenges brought entirely by the Coleman campaign. The pile included a big chunk of withdrawn challenges, many of which went quickly to Franken’s column.

The “key court ruling” is the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision to count 1,600 absentee ballots that had been rejected. Who knows? By the time this is done, Stuart Smalley might lead by four digits. Exit question: What will Franken’s lead be by the end of business tomorrow? There’s no doubt he’ll be ahead. All we’re talking is margin.