MN-Sen: The End of the Beginning of the End
Today we may get a final count in the race from 23 years ago between Norm Coleman and Al Franken. As Keith Pickering notes, Coleman has already been virtually mathematically eliminated by virtue of the total of the votes that will be counted today. Originally 400 were to be counted, but 13 were found to be duplicates yesterday.
That leaves 387 absentee votes remaining in Coleman's ever-shrinking ballot universe. Based on prior returns, we can expect 16% of them (62 ballots) to be cast for Dean Barkley and other candidates, leaving 325 ballots for either Coleman or Franken.
But we already know that there are 35 votes for Franken from the Nauen group, plus another 12 subject to prior summary judgement that are also from Franken's team. And this morning's Star-Tribune also revealed that one absentee ballot from Aitkin County is definitely for Franken. That's 48 known Franken votes. After those votes are counted, the Franken lead will be
225 + 48 = 273
... and the remaining votes to be counted will be:
325 - 48 = 277
So Al will lead by 273 votes with 277 left to be counted. With just 3 votes out of those 277, Franken will win.
Of course, "winning" isn't everything, in this race. Coleman seeks only to prolong the court battles and delay the outcome. A cushy lobbying job surely awaits him anyway, and his Republican minders will look well on this obstruction of Al Franken. Minnesota's Republican governor Tim Pawlenty, himself a possible 2012 Presidential candidate, said yesterday that the race would last "a few more months" while the appeals process is exhausted.
"It's frustrating that this has taken so long, but we need to get a proper and just and accurate and legal result," said Pawlenty. "It gonna take, it looks like, a few more months to get that."
"I know that you -- a few more months, huh?" answered Norah O'Donnell.
A governor truly interested in full representation in Washington for his constituents would demand a speedy conclusion and a fast-tracked appeals process. Tellingly, Pawlenty has not done that.