It is becoming a habit. A third time, and it’ll be a tradition.
Two years ago, there was a prolonged recount and legal battle over the Minnesota Senate race. This year, it is the Governor’s seat. The Senate recount was one of the most thorough and transparent in U.S. history, it was a squeaker with the margin of the eventual win being around 200 votes out of a total of more than two and a half million cast. Senator Al Franken was not sworn in until July of 2009.
When the Senate recount began, incumbent Norm Coleman led in the vote tally by 215 votes. When it was over, Franken led by 225 votes, a net change of 440. This year, Mark Dayton leads Tom Emmer by nearly 9000 votes, a mountain that seems far too high to climb.
In the Senate election, one of the national issues that lay in the balance was the possible 60th Democratic Senate vote. Franken did eventually supply that vote. But with the death of Ted Kennedy, and the election in January 2010 of Scott Brown, the Democrats held 60 votes for a mere six months.
This year, the national significance lies with outgoing Governor Tim Pawlenty, a contender for the 2012 Republican Presidential nomination. In the 2010 election, both the Minnesota House and the Minnesota Senate moved to Republican majorities. If the recount stretches on long enough, Governor Pawlenty will be able sign some major legislation that will be pushed on a fast track onto his desk. Tom Emmer has been doing what he can to prolong the recount for just this reason.
It’s unlikely Emmer can win. But he can influence what Minnesota looks like for the next two years. And he can help build Pawlenty’s national image.
I’ll be commenting on the recount and the eventual outcome. Tomorrow, I’ll try to bring everyone up to date.
- Recount Begins to Determine Governor’s Race in Minnesota (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)
- Recount to begin in Minnesota governor’s race (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Recount to begin in Minnesota governor’s race (sfgate.com)
- Recount Could Trap Pawlenty in Governor’s Mansion (thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com)