MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) - For the second time in a week, Republican incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman's camp is labeling him the winner in Minnesota's far-from-over Senate race.
Coleman leads Democratic challenger Al Franken by just 206 votes as the first round of tallying comes to a close Monday evening.
"Sen. Coleman remains the winner in this election despite unexplained discrepancies in reporting ...that have virtually all benefited the Franken campaign," Coleman spokesman Tom Erickson said in a statement.
That result means little at this point: Minnesota law mandates a recount when the margin of victory in a race is less than .5 percent.
This instance falls well within that gap - more than 2.4 million Minnesotans cast votes in this year's Senate race.
Coleman's lead has shrunk since votes were first tabulated earlier in the week. On Wednesday, he led by 725 votes. Representatives with the Coleman campaign have charged that irregularities in tabulation throughout the week have unfairly benefited their opponent, Al Franken.
Franken spokesman Andy Barr dismissed the claim. "As much as the Coleman campaign would like to play political games and baselessly cast doubt on this process," Barr wrote in an e-mail to CNN, "we will continue to work to ensure that every vote is properly counted."
Barr also suggested that it would be wrong for anyone to declare victory before the statewide hand recount is complete. That process is set to begin November 19, and could last until mid-December.
Good luck on the recount Al. Bye bye coleman we don't want you.
Yep, he's a Republican.
Coleman seems to think that if he repeats something enough times in a loud voice, he'll make it TRUE.
Beware of ACORN shenanigans. That organization holds that the ends justify the means. Franken undoubtedly wants to benefit from ACORN's expertise just like Obama. I'm sure democracy will operate much better when Obama's Civilian Army (aka Gestapo) will watch over us citizens.
Agreed that the hand recount is best, but didn't the WA '04 governor race only do the hand recount for the Seattle area? Seems like if they missed the votes of those outside the emerald city they didn't care.
MN could be the same - I think each precinct gets to choose whether to recount by machine or by hand. Lets hope they all do a hand recount the first time around and not repeat that WA mess.
Coleman has read his Supreme Court cases! Remember that Bush's claim of victory was instrumental in the circular reasoning behind stopping the recount in Florida, the continuation of which would have produced irremediable harm to "the winner."
Coleman stove leaves the voters cold. Franken will win because "he's good enough. He's smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like him!"
Wow, this Earl guy here is really messed up. Its pretty scary knowing that there are people like that out here.
I think the zoo cage might be a good place to start. That, and some heavy drugs.
I like how so many people are accusing Norm Coleman of trying to steal the election.
Coleman has been ahead ever since votes have started coming in. If Franken somehow rearranges a 500-vote loss into a 100-vote victory, will you resist continuing the use of the word "stolen"?
Don't mind me. Just pointing out the inconsistencies in some of your arguments.