December 23rd, 2008
06:59 AM ET
5 years ago

Franken maintains slim lead, as another recount vet arrives

Franken holds a narrow edge over Norm Coleman as counting continues.
Franken holds a narrow edge over Norm Coleman as counting continues.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (CNN) – Democrat Al Franken is expected to hold a lead of 48 votes over incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman, according to an ongoing tally kept by the Minneapolis Star Tribune and by Minnesota's state canvassing board, which is expected to release a formal announcement Tuesday morning confirming an early draft released by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's office Sunday night.

Franken and Coleman are locked in a tight battle in the single remaining unresolved U.S. Senate race in the country.

The Franken campaign had predicted over the weekend that they'd come out on top by 35-50 votes.

In a statement, Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan said, "Al Franken’s ‘lead’ is artificial and this process is still a long way from being complete," and that their campaign has "already identified some discrepancies" in the secretary of state's numbers.

The slim lead takes into account the approximately 1,400 challenges ballots the board reviewed by hand last week, as well as the roughly 5,000 ballots that had been challenged but were since withdrawn and remained to be allotted to either candidate. The number also does not include a few scattered but still unawarded outstanding ballot challenges.

Also still in the picture are improperly rejected absentee ballots, which could amount to roughly 1600 votes to factor into the mix. The State Supreme Court ruled Thursday that these ballots should not be counted unless both campaigns and local election officials can agree each ballot was rejected in error. No word yet on how this process will unravel.

The court is also expected to hear new arguments from the Coleman camp Tuesday afternoon surrounding their position that roughly 130 votes may have been counted twice due to improper sorting and labeling of duplicate ballots. Duplicates are created when an original ballot, for whatever reason, is unfit to be sent through a tabulation machine.

The Coleman campaign is pushing the issue of duplicate ballots more than anything else in the final days of the recount, claiming the secretary of state's totals are based on "votes that have been counted twice."

As the fight looks increasingly likely to continue into next year, another veteran of the 2000 Florida presidential recount has joined the Coleman team.

Coleman spokesman Mark Drake confirmed to CNN that veteran GOP attorney Ben Ginsberg, who served as national counsel to Bush/Cheney in 2000 and 2004 and was a key player in the Florida recount, is acting as an adviser to Coleman during the recount process.

Drake added that Ginsberg will not be arguing in court Tuesday. That job will still fall to Roger Magnuson, another Florida recount vet, who represented the state's legislature during the 2000 recount.

It is unclear when Ginsberg joined the Coleman team, and Drake did not know whether the lawyer would be in town Tuesday or Wednesday, the day the state supreme court hears new arguments from the Coleman camp over allegations that some ballots may have been double-counted.

soundoff (71 Responses)
  1. Franky

    Al Franken is leading??

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 23, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. J.P.

    It's the "Recount Shuffle," where you recount-recount-recount until the Democrat wins. It's an old game and we've seen it played out many times. Oh, hey look... I "found" some more ballots for Stewart Smalley in my car trunk here in South Texas! Better include 'em!

    OK, I'll ask again, WHEN can we storm the castle?

    December 23, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. WestCoastScott

    Hey GM from MN,

    Get in line behind Al Gore if you want to cry about the election process.

    Thankfully MN has the decency to make an attempt to count votes and the Supreme Court isn't involved.

    December 23, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. gt

    minnesota deserves his nut case ,,, fits well with jessie venture,,, the cold has warp the voters

    December 23, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. Ellen Bradley

    Seems to me we are seeing Illinois-style counting of the ballots now, all those "new ink" counts, etc.

    December 23, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Interloper

    Minnesotans will get what they deserve if they are foolish enough to elect Franken, a thug who made his living, such as it was, from racist and misogynist "satire." And people are saying that Caroline Kennedy isn't qualified to serve as a U.S. senator, when a cretin like Franken might be elected??? Maybe the Minnesota state slogan should be changed to "Land of 10,000 Looneytunes."

    December 23, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. ran

    Franken not Coleman needs to be senator. Coleman has shown he is not interested in uniting this country and any politician who is not should not be allowed to represent the people. United we stand divided we will fall.

    December 23, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. Rick

    Lying, cheating and stealing....it's the democrat way.

    December 23, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  9. FFS !

    Your all a bunch of low brow idiots, really pathetic. What a way to make Christ happy on his Birthday, fighting over this. Inclusive liberals my eye, Evangelical Christian ideals from the right my arse. your all whats wrong with this country and you should all be ashamed. Who cares who is going to win, what big difference does it make? None.

    Thanks CNN for contually stirring the pot, and keeping Americans divided and at each others throat. You all are such a credit to the human race let me tell you all about it. I know Christmas really dosen't matter to most of you, you all see it as "Annual Gift Time". It is really a holiday you know, you don't have to go to Church to appreciate what Christ did for ALL of you, or the sacrafice he made for ALL of you.

    Can you not show eachother love for even one day without "Liberal this, Conservitive that"? Take a look at yourselves, fighting over something that will not even make a difference in your lives, is this how you all want to be remembered? Give it a rest for just one day.

    Oh yeah and Merry Christmas.

    December 23, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  10. Franken is a SNAKE!

    If this slimeball Franken is "selected" (sound familiar?) he will be completely illegitimate. This is corruption plain and simple and the people are sick of it.

    Have a second election. That is the only way to be fair.

    December 23, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. Polar Bears Against Palen

    Norm Coleman is a worthless, corrupt, dweeb.

    December 23, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  12. MikeH

    If he wins, we can look forward to episodes of "Stewart Smalley Saves Minnesota".

    December 23, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  13. Go and Hate No MORE!!!

    Ima Kidding December 23rd, 2008 7:44 am ET
    These crazy liberals!!! They think that just 'cause somebody gets the most votes they're the one that should get elected. Rush and Sean are right – this country is going to h–l in a handbasket!!!!
    ***************************************************************************
    TO- Ima Kidding --You Rush and Sean are going to knock the Bottom out of HELL!!!

    December 23, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  14. Peter

    Id prefer a second election between just Franken and Coleman, no write-ins and no third party candidates. In the situation which is currently happening, no matter who wins they will claim voter fraud and then go blame Dean Barkley

    December 23, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. Sanity

    Don't be ridiculous. The election is not being stolen by anyone. Minnesota has one of the most open and honest election systems in the country. People should just take the time to look at the facts before they start pushing their political agenda by making false claims.

    Remember that our country is based upon fair and honest elections, and if you get people to falsely believe that the system is corrupt then we all lose! We are the United States of America and a political party can not be allowed destroy the pillars of our democracy to win an election!

    The votes are not being recounted by any political hacks; they were recounted by your grandmothers, brothers, mothers and neighbors that were trained to be election judges. Think about it, would you personally lie or cheat to add a few more votes for your candidate of choice and risk your reputation or possibly go to jail? Remember that you have about 10 people watching you count each of those votes.

    The manual recount is required by state law is an election this close. There has only been ONE official tally so far and that was on election night. The recount is winding down and the estimates from the newspaper have been giving misleading estimated results. Each candidate was allowed to challenge the decision made by the voting judges and place the votes into a challenge pile. This is what gives the misleading estimated results. If one candidate chose to challenge 10,000 votes for their opponent, those totals are taken out of the tallies (until reviewed by the election commission) and they would instantly have a 10,000 vote lead in the recount! Also, the election commission is made up of court judges from both parties.

    All of the false rumors that were spread around the internet have been proved false (check out the local small time newspapers for the articles). The votes lost in the trunk of a car trunk never happen, the statistically impossible vote changes were just cases where the judges called in the wrong totals on election night (Two Harbors and Pine County) that were corrected when they reviewed them the next day. All have been false rumors, just like most of the rumors being spread on this message board.

    Just take the time to check out the fact yourself and question your sources.

    December 23, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. Laverne

    At this point, who cares who wins, they're both losers as far as I am concerned!

    December 23, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. Soccer Nana

    @ima kidding,

    Slush Dumbaugh and Insane Vanity may rule over your low-self-esteem-life, but those of us with intellect do not bother with the likes of them and others who think as they do. By the way, does Dumbaugh shares the millions he gets paid to doop you and others with you at all?

    December 23, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  18. Larry Ulstein

    April-
    I bet you didn't call for a runoff when Bush stole the 2000 election with 345 voted for the entier nation!

    December 23, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. rob

    The questions I have for all you Bush haters are:

    -NAME ONE PERSON IN THE U.S. WHOSE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS WERE VIOLATED BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION

    -HOW MANY TIMES DID THE DEM CONGRESS VOTE TO GIVE BUSH WHAT HE WANTED FOR WAR FUNDING AND THE PATRIOT ACT WHILE TELLING US THAT THE WAR WAS LOST OR ILLEGAL OR BUSH WAS "TRAMPLING ON THE CONSTITUTION" ETC. ETC. ETC.

    -HOW MANY TIMES WERE WE ATTACKED AFTER 9/11

    -IS IT THE FACT WE ARE SUCCEEDING IN IRAQ THAT OBAMA CAN SEND 30000 TROOPS TO AFGANISTAN

    -HOW MANY MONTHS OF STRONG ECONOMIC GROWTH DID WE HAVE DURING THIS ADMINISTRATION

    AND BEFORE YOU GO HERE

    -HOW MANY DEMS PROFITTED FROM AND PROTECTED FANIE AND FREDIE WHILE THESE FIRMS COOKED THEIR BOOKS AND HELP ENABLE THIS MORTGAGE MELTDOWN WHICH IS THE ROOT CAUSE OF THE WHOLE ECONOMIC MESS WE ARE IN.

    To answer these questions truthfully is to admit that the current Dem party leadership in congress and their freinds in the MSM are corrupt, inept, or taking advantage of the stupidity of the American people to gain power. I say its all three.

    December 23, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  20. Aaron

    What's wrong with you people? Why do I keep hearing "They're going to keep counting the votes until Franken wins"? From what I understand there is only one recount. How about...they're going to keep counting the votes until all the votes are counted. I know that sounds a little unfair. And my last thing...I don't know how liberals are to blame for any of this. Most of the heads of state of Minnesota are Repblican and they are the ones in charge of this recount.

    December 23, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Fritz

    Coleman wanted to stop the recount when he was ahead and wanted to exclude the improperly ballots when he was ahead. Now that he is behind, he wants these votes included. Franken wanted all the votes counted when he was behind and when he is ahead. These two clowns both are not particularly palatable but one is a self serving flip flopping hypocrite and the other is a consistent yet annoying comedian.

    December 24, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
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