Coleman Beats Franken, Recount Likely

Democrat Al Franken and Republican Senator Norm Coleman

Democrat Al Franken and Republican Senator Norm Coleman

The Minnesota Senate race between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and Democratic comedian Al Franken is still too close to call.  Coleman has a slight lead in all the counts and is expected to be ahead narrowly when the counting’s done.   The Star Tribune says that a recount looms.

With 99 percent of the 4,130  precincts reporting, Coleman maintains an unofficial margin of  less than 800  votes out of nearly 2.9 million cast, almost assuring that there will be a recount.  Required in races with a winning margin of less than one half of 1 percent, the recount could delay a final result for days while ballots are retabulated across the state.

By law, Franken could waive a recount, but that seems highly unlikely.

Both candidates captured 42 percent of the vote.  Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley captured 15 percent of the vote.

It would appear that, if Coleman pulls off his re-election bid, hes got Barkley to thank.

Franken struggled throughout the evening to hang on to all of the Democratic surge, losing some to ticket-splitters who opted for Coleman, particularly in the suburbs.

Returns showed  Barkley trailing a distant third, but also pulling enough Democrats and independents to possibly cost Franken the race.

Gotta love third parties and those who vote for them in close elections.

As I was about to hit Publish, AP called it for Coleman.  A recount is still almost certain.

UPDATE: With 100 percent of the precincts in, Coleman has a 600 vote margin.  Franken has already called for a recount.

“The process, dictated by our laws, will be orderly, fair, and will take place within a matter of days. We won’t know for a little while who won this race, but at the end of the day, we will know that the voice of the electorate was clearly heard.”

After a bitter, long-fought race, it’s hard to blame him.  The problem with recounts, though, is that, if the results change, the original winner’s supporters will never believe the election wasn’t stolen.  We’ve got to figure out how to get it right the first time and have people confident in that fact.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, US Politics, ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. rodney dill says:

    If Franken is available, I hear that SNL will need someone to play Michelle Obama.

  2. Eric says:

    If Franken is available, I hear that SNL will need someone to play Michelle Obama.

    Rodney, keep your day job. You have no future in comedy.

  3. Eneils Bailey says:

    Wow,

    That’s too bad if Franken is to lose.

    Thought he was better at cursing and using profanity than any other democrat I know of. That’s except for Ted Kennedy when he would pull one of his famous week-ender’s or overnighter’s.
    Guess it’s time to replace the old guard.
    Franken’s expertise within the democrat party will be missed in Washington.
    But, you can catch him on Comedy Central or within the halls of SNL.

  4. carpeicthus says:

    The scary thing is that I don’t think Eneils is a troll. Maybe I’m wrong. In any case, your comment seems to imply that Franken was the incumbent, which is downright weird.

  5. just me says:

    I think in the year of ACORN if Franken wins in a recount there is no way the GOP will stay quiet about it.

    I think Franken as a senator would be a very scary thing.

  6. Brett says:

    This is where having a run-off election if no candidate gets over 50% of the vote would have been useful. If Minnesota had this law, then there would be a run-off election between the top two candidates, this time without the Third-Party spoiler.

  7. James Joyner says:

    This is where having a run-off election if no candidate gets over 50% of the vote would have been useful. If Minnesota had this law, then there would be a run-off election between the top two candidates, this time without the Third-Party spoiler.

    Even better: Instant run-off voting. That way, people can vote for their top choice without strategic calculation and also vote for their second choice.

  8. G.A.Phillips says:

    Looks like he beet him with the goofy stick. Bad donkey.