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.
Norm and his campaign team...... just ridiculous!!
I live in Washington State. We went through this in '04 in our Governor's race. The first two machine counts gave a slim lead to the Republican. A complete hand count gave the race to the Democrat. Only a complete hand count can demonstrate accuracy in a close race. Take the necessary time, count by hand and find out who really won, whoever that might be. The integrity of the election is most important. Machine scanners notoriously error as happened in the pre-election testing in Minnesota. A hand count will get it right. Colemen needs to chill and let democracy work.
Norm keeps forgetting his vote count went up by several hundred during the canvasing too. Franken's just went up a bit more.
Let's count the votes before we jump to conclusions
That's the lowest gap I have seen since this started a week ago.
just a matter of who did tipped the scales less if you catch my drift
Yet another feeble attempt by Sen. Bush boy to play politics and look foolish. Normy, you may very well lose and MN will be better off because of it.
Wow, let's declare victory without the mandated recount...geez, I think I've heard this story before.
Gee Norm, what happened? If Franken was supposedly so wrong for Minnesota, why is there going to be a state ordered recount?
Let's face it Norm....you lost the race...you're trying to pull a Florida here, cheating you way to the election and trying to deny a recount which will prove it...fall on your sword and go get a job with the rich Iranian who gives you all that illegal dough....I feel sorry for politicians like you.
The recount is the law Norm!! Are you sweating it that your voter suppression efforts may not be enough? Go home with Sarah, John and your hero George!
I don't get it. Does the Coleman campaign think that if they ignore the recount process it will go away?
Good luck Mr. Franken. President Obama needs you right now and I dearly hope you win. Enough with the Republican already. Go away!
There are more than 10,000 undervotes left to count/examine. This is even before any recount (inevitable). It is asinine to claim victory with 200 votes with either one of these conditions. It would be equally moronic if Franken tried to call it for himself.
Al Franken was once a B-list comedian, but as a Senator he'd be a real joke. I know nothing about this guy Coleman, but he has to better that clown Franken.
Awww, poor Senator Coleman...sounds like he's facing a "vast left-wing conspiracy". "unexplained discrepancies in reporting" pfft.
Coleman should just "shut up" and let the process proceed. The more he whines about the whole thing the more people hope he loses. Can we just have some peace and quiet for a while now that the awful Coleman and Franken ads have finally stopped running? Too bad Barkley didn't win. He's no genius but he's a decent guy who would do a good job.
Norms gotta go. He's gotta go.
Al Freakin is an idiot, like all the good little marxists that voted for him.
Al Freakin, and the magic negro, and all the rest of the democratic marxists, should get jobs that they're uniquely qualified for, namely
cleaning animal cages, and toilets in the zoo of their choice.
The Republicans are jumping the gun again.
And I'm not Al Franken
Anybody who has ever been part of a recount knows that some ballots that a machine reads as undervote actually have valid votes under the counting standard.
When a race is this close, it's important to have a full and complete hand count to determine who won. Of course, just as in motor sports or baseball, when you are in the lead, you want the rest of the race called off to avoid the possibility that you actually might lose.
He can declare himself the winner all he wants...
and I can declare myself queen of the world. Doesn't make it true.
MR. COLEMAN, DON'T TRY TO STEAL MY VOTE.
By the end of this, we'll be hearing that the winner is "me, Al Franken." I think Al speaks for the Everyman, and I'm tired of Republican blowhards always trying to sue their way into office.
Wow... I love how the Republicans always try to play themselves as the victims of the "liberal media". FOX News spews enough hatred and ignorance to make up for any alleged bias by the other networks.
YES WE DID!