Recount, Day 3: Coleman hanging on to thin lead
As the wrenching drama lurched on, tensions rose, charges flew and challenges grew.
I predict the re-count will be close, and the loser will challenge it in court. I also predict those whose candidate loses will not accept … read more the result and claim the one elected is not the legitimate
How many ways can voting go wrong? The wear and tear of the state's U.S. Senate recount began to show Friday, as some counties reported missing ballots and a rising number of challenged ballots frayed nerves among counters and monitors alike.
As of Friday night, Republican Sen. Norm Coleman was hanging on to his whisker-thin lead over Democrat Al Franken. With 64 percent of the 2.9 million ballots recounted, Coleman was ahead by 120 votes, down from 136 at the end of Thursday and from the unofficial lead of 215 signed off on Tuesday by the state Canvassing Board.
The figures represent a compilation of recount data reported to the secretary of state and gathered by the Star Tribune.
Earlier Friday, in response to media questions during an energy-related visit to Wright County, Coleman expressed second thoughts about a statement he made the morning after the Nov. 4 election.
Asked whether he would concede the race if the Canvassing Board certified Franken as the winner -- as Coleman had suggested that Franken should do that post-election morning -- the senator noted that at the time his 700-plus-vote lead over Franken was more substantial and that he hadn't slept in 36 hours. Now, he said, "I don't think I'd have made the same statement."
A handful of counties will continue counting today, and perhaps even Sunday, in hopes that their work may be substantially finished by Thanksgiving. Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie said Friday that 75 percent of the recount would be completed by tonight. Ritchie also said the Canvassing Board will meet Wednesday for two hours to discuss what to do about the Franken campaign's request to consider rejected absentee ballots and count them if they were improperly turned aside.
There were tense moments Friday in Anoka County and the Duluth area, as election officials went in search of ballots that had disappeared.