[Apologies for today’s briefer Glean. A late election night forces concessions from more than just politicians. I’ll concentrate on the U.S. Senate race, since that’s the big local story today.]
The meanest Senate race in the country is now the closest Senate race in the country. Everyone gives Norm Coleman a small but likely sufficient lead; the secretary of state’s unofficial final has him up 726 votes. The Strib says it’s 725. At CNN, it’s 571. The microscopic gap clearly triggers a mandatory recount.
Which begs the question: most votes ever switched by a recount? Fox9 incorrectly notes this will be the first statewide recount since the 1962 governor’s race; there was one after this September’s judicial primary. According to Minnesota Lawyer, that race involved 400,000 votes; just seven switched. Here, 2.7 million must be re-checked. In other words, Coleman is almost certainly re-elected.
In a KSTP interview, Secretary of State Mark Ritchie describes recount procedures; a canvassing board examines reported results for two weeks before the ballot-by-ballot recount begins. MPR’s Tom Scheck wrote at 2:45 a.m. that Coleman staffers “were just sent out to guard the ballot boxes.” Where? How? The PiPress’ Rachel Stassen-Berger says Franken hired ex-Minnesota U.S. Attorney David Lillehaug for his recount vetting.
The closeness of the vote will force closer examination of polling-place irregularities like this episode involving Somali voters and Coleman officials, courtesy of Minnesota Independent’s Molly Priesmeyer.
The Strib’ Pat Lopez says suburban ticket-splitters sunk Franken. Idle thought: What if Barack Obama had put some of his prestige on the line (he won Minnesota by 10 points) and cut an ad for Franken? Exit poll numbers showed Barkley peeled more votes away from Al, contrary to pre-election surveys. The Independence Party: helping elect Republicans for over a tenth of a century!
Speaking of which: MPR’s Bob Collins offers the single best explanation for Michele Bachmann surviving her scary comments: a guy named Anderson. In this case, Bob, the Independence Party guy who took 10 percent; most almost certainly coming from DFL challenger El Tinklenberg — who actually had Independence Party endorsement! (Archaic state law prevents multi-party ballot designation.) That Bachmann was re-elected after shooting herself in all appendages means redistricting might be the only way to get her out of Congress for the foreseeable future.
But again, Obama’s Minnesota coattails were negligable. The Dems didn’t pick up any congressional seats (Erik Paulsen beat Ashwin Madia), and only a couple of additional Minnesota House seats. That 87-seat House DFL total isn’t a veto-proof 90. However, the Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher argues the party did well to hold and nudge up big 2006 gains, the Strib’s Mike Kaszuba reports.
Although turnout set a record nationally — 130 million votes, or 64 percent — Minnesota missed the vaunted “80 percent in ’08” mark, clocking in at 77.5 percent, AP notes. Will we still be tops in the nation?