Minnesota Mishegoss: Coleman – Franken Contest Still Undecided

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

James Besser in Washington

In Minnesota, as it turns out, a recount won’t be enough to determine the winner of a hotly contested Senate race.   The only thing that’s certain: the  winner will definitely be a Jewish guy from New York.

On Friday, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, state officials have finished the recount mandated by the extraordinarily close margin on November 4. The results:  incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman, a Republican, leads comedian/political newcomer Al Franken by 192 votes.  That means Franken picked up 23 votes since the recount  began.

End of story? Hardly.  Some 133 ballots from a Minneapolis precinct apparently went missing in recent days, preventing the Minneapolis Secretary of State from proclaiming Coleman the victor.

And 6,655 ballots have been challenged by the two campaigns. Those ballots have to be reviewed by a canvassing board, which meets next week. Also, what about what the Star-Tribune calls an “unknown number of absentee ballots that election officials acknowledge were mistakenly rejected.”

Look for a windfall for Minnesota lawyers and continued uncertainty about exactly how big the Democrats expanded majority will be when the new Senate convenes in early January.

If the Barack Obama administration decides to continue with a policy of exporting American democracy around the world, they might be wise to exclude Minnesota election officials from their training teams.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.