Minnesota Recount is Last Governor’s Race Standing
The Connecticut governor’s race has finally been settled, with the final votes being just outside the margin needed for a mandatory recount. But while Democrat Dan Malloy now gets to take his place as governor-elect of the state, Democrat Mark Dayton of Minnesota is still in limbo, and he may be there a while.
Unlike Connecticut, it is unlikely that the canvassing process will put the margin outside of the automatic recount, even though the difference in votes between the two candidates is likely to remain above 8000. Republican Tom Emmer does have the right to wave a hand recount, which would save the state thousands of dollars, but has made it clear that he has no intention to do so.
Republican Tom Emmer plans to see a recount through despite trailing Democrat Mark Dayton by almost 8,750 votes in the undeclared race for Minnesota governor, Emmer’s attorney said Monday.
Asked whether any thought was being given to waiving the manual ballot-by-ballot review, Emmer attorney Tony Trimble answered bluntly, “None whatsoever.”
Trimble spoke to reporters after Hennepin County _ Minnesota’s largest _ certified its vote totals. Emmer picked up six votes from his election night tally after a suburban precinct rechecked its numbers. The county makes up one-fifth of the statewide vote.
Tom Emmer’s recount team has been acquiring some high powered legal representation as it progresses, most notably Eric Magnuson, who was the Chief Justice when the 2008 Franken/Coleman recount took place.
Said Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton in a statement:
“I’m very pleased to announce that former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson will serve as lead litigator for Emmer for Governor and the Republican Party of Minnesota. Eric is an enormously talented litigator who is independent minded, thoughtful and substantive. As a former member of the State Canvassing Board, Eric understands the issues at stake during this process. Eric is a tremendous addition to our legal team, and I know he will do his part to make certain that every legally cast vote is counted.”
The media itself is already weighing in on the fact that there is no reason with so large of a number of ballots separating the two candidates, that a recount should drag on for months like it did in 2008. WCCO reporter Esme Murphy states:
Will there be glitches? Yes, almost certainly. But there is strong reason to believe that the reforms enacted by the legislature should make the process faster, and yes, fairer.
Then there is the issue of the margin. While the numbers are moving slightly, Mark Dayton has a significant lead of approximately 8,781 votes. That is obviously far greater than the shifting lead that occurred in 2008 of several hundred. And back to those absentees. In 2008 there were more than 12,000 absentees ballots rejected. This year there are only 3,000. If all 3,000 of those votes went to Tom Emmer, Mark Dayton would still be ahead.
Then there is the suggestion advanced by GOP Chair Tony Sutton that the GOP is not going to let another race be “stolen” the way the 2008 Senate seat was. Is Sutton forgetting that at every step of the way Republicans or their appointees were major players in deciding which ballots should be counted? From the recount, to the Canvassing Board, to the three-judge panel, to the Minnesota Supreme Court, Republicans were there. The decisions by the three-judge panel and the Supreme Court were unanimous.
Tom Emmer deserves a recount. The people of Minnesota deserve a recount. But right now there is no compelling evidence to suggest this process should go one day beyond the Dec. 14 end point for the recount set by the Secretary of State.
Meanwhile, it becomes less and less clear what the Republican party’s intentions are should current governor Tim Pawlenty still be in office when the next session begins.
Via the Associated Press:
Incoming state House Speaker Kurt Zellers says new Republican majorities in the Legislature won’t “rush to ram something right through” if the governor’s race is unresolved and Gov. Tim Pawlenty stays in office into the new year.
Zellers, of Maple Grove, says it would be “disrespectful to either candidate and the people of Minnesota to somehow try to game the system or manipulate the recount.” But he adds lawmakers are also obligated to work with whoever is governor and get started so a new budget is passed by the constitutionally required date of May 23.
Getting “started” so a budget will pass could mean a whole lot of things to a party that has complete control over the legislature.