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.