Coleman’s recount margin inches up to 316

With 97.6 percent of votes recounted, Norm Coleman gained 13 votes Wednesday to take a 316-vote lead. There are now 6,326 challenges in the pile.

Today’s totals do not include 633 challenges Franken said Wednesday he would unilaterally withdraw. Currently, Coleman has a 3,241-3,085 challenge lead.

Coleman gained his 13 votes even though he made 27 fewer challenges. That’s mostly due to a net 46 votes Franken lost in one Minneapolis precinct. There’s a dispute over whether votes had been double-counted or lost.

Without the disputed precinct, Coleman’s lead would be 270, with Franken picking up 33 votes on the day.

As always, there are multiple ways to keep score. Coleman +316 reflects the lead with all challenges excluded. If you deduct Coleman’s extra 156 challenges, the Republican leads by 160. And if you follow Franken’s math — allocating each challenge based on the recount judges’ original calls — the Democrat leads by 22 … not excluding the disputed Minneapolis ballots.

Clear as mud, as always.

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