I absolutely, positively do NOT freakin' believe this! No doubt the voters of MN are so depressed by
1) Governor Tim Pawlenty, or
2) Governor Tim Pawlenty's LEAVING office, or
3) by the local sports teams suffering through the last month of "Choke-tober" (Twins, Vikings, U of MN football), or
4) the fear of the NetRoots Nation coming to Minneapolis next spring,
that they have decided to hold ANOTHER STATE-WIDE RECOUNT!
Well, I'll just put up a diary or 2. Fill in the local color. Recount will be done in about 3 weeks. And then I will have done my good service to the Kos Community.
Join me just over the Orange Fold below, now updated x1!
After leading in the polls all fall former senator and current Democrat Mark Dayton (heir to the department store name & money) managed to scrape across the finish line of the governor's race in first place Tuesday night. This marks the first time a Democrat has ostensibly won the governor's chair since the election of 1986, so there was much rejoicing....sort of.
According to the MN Sec. of State's office, the first pass at the final numbers looks like this:
Dayton 919,216 43.63%
Emmer (R) 910,442 43.21%
Diff. 8,774 0.42%
That last number on the right is the crucial one. MN law says any election where the difference is less than 0.50% is automatically recounted at state expense.
The last time a statewide race ended this tight was a certain Senate race that was finally decided by 312 votes. This difference is 28 TIMES larger, but still within the 0.50% law, so off we go.
Mark Dayton, 63. Yale, same fraternity (and same time as) George W(hat a Cheerleader) Bush. Legislative aide to Walter Mondale (MR. Ex-CITE-ment! from the 1984 presidential race). Dayton ran for US Senate in 1982 and lost. Ran for MN State Auditor in 1990 & won.
Ran for governor in 1998 but lost in Democratic Primary to Skip the Humphrey (son of the man who is likely still talking). Elected US Senator in 2000. One term (replaced in 2006 by Amy Klobuchar).
Tom Emmer, 49. Born in South Bend, IN but grew up in Edina, MN (old-money suburb of Minneapolis. Surrounding suburbs nickname Edina folk "cake eaters"---tip to Marie Antoinette!). Boston College, and then, to geographically average out his college life, Univ. of Alaska graduate. Wm. Mitchell College of Law graduate.
Delano, MN city Council (ex-urban sprawl town west of Minneapolis). Elected 2004 to MN legislature. Finance Committee.
Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, 59. Born in Georgia, raised in Iowa. Served 20 years in MN government in agricultural bureaus. First elected Secretary of State, 2006. Just re-elected Tuesday.
Presided over the 2008 Senate Recount with scrupulous fairness and honored by fellow Sec. of States for integrity, transparency and fairness.
There are 4136 precincts across MN. If a recount goes forward (and it will UNLESS Emmer concedes) it will not start until Nov. 23rd when a state canvassing board determines if it is needed. So until the 23rd its a lot of maneuvering and press releases.
Two pieces of hard news.
1) The Secretary of State names the state canvassing board, which needs to include 2 members of the MN Supreme Court. The 2 Supreme Court justices named are Paul Anderson and David Stras. The other 2 members are Hennepin County (Minneapolis) Judge Denise Reilly and Ramsey County (St. Paul) Judge Gregg ("Mr. I've got 3 Gs!" Johnson.
A couple of these names will be familiar to long time fans. Paul Anderson is the Justice who famously slapped down a Norm Coleman lawyer during an oral argument with a whiplash "This is NOT Florida!" (The lawyer has not been heard or seen since.)
Denise Reilly was on the 3 judge Election Contest Court that heard (and heard....and heard......) the Coleman-Franken trial in 2009. She was the one who, when a Coleman attorney was arguing a completely STUPID point with consummate stupidity, she couldn't hide a smile. The Coleman lawyer broke character and blurted out, "You're not buying this, are you?" The ensuing chuckle was remarked up by all the lawyers on these boards with variations on, "It is NEVER a good thing when a judge laughs at your case in court."
2) In 2008 there was a lots of screeching and bloviating from the MN GOP (and beyond) about the election process, the recount, verbal shots at Ritchie, MN law, etc.
Well the cast has changed but the script is the same. Tony Sutton, the MN GOP chair/Il Duce, is already ranting about errors involving "400,000 ballots." He is also spewing garbage about "We're not going to get rolled this time"....as though 2008 was illegal/unfair/immoral. (Man, these yo-yos REALLY can't take losing can they? 400,000 votes? Really?)
Well, if there WERE shennanigans with 400,000 votes do NOT fear! The MN GOP is ON THE CASE. They have sent out one of their CRACK investigators from their legal team to look into it: Attorney Tony Trimble!
Yes! The very same Tony Trimble who was told by a judge to "Sit down!"...and not in a nice way. The very same Tony Trimble who managed to violate rules of evidence and earn a $7500 sanction from the court during the Coleman-Franken trial!
THAT Tony Trimble is on the case!
Thats good, because we are all going to need as much comic relief as we can get.
UPDATE: Two Bits of Good News
1) In the Senate Recount one of the major pieces in play were absentee ballots that were rejected by local officials for various legal reasons, at the time, about 12,000. With a margin of 200-300 votes both Franken and Coleman looked to that pool of votes long and hard for their cause.
Some sharp differences this time. There have been some revisions to the law (that even Pawlenty agreed to and signed!) to cut down on such ballots. According to State Elections Director Gary Poser (another name from the past! Hi Gary) these only total 3021 at the most, and could be fewer than that. With a margin between Dayton & Emmer north of 8700 that makes these ballots much less of a factor. (And probably accounts in part for Sutton's rant about 400,000. They need BIG numbers this time and a big guy like Il Duce Sutton is starting early to provide them.)
The Star Trib's Brian Bakst (who is a vowel short of starting for the Timberwolves) has the story here:
2) YOU do not have to wait breathlessly for explanations and updates on this site! YOU can actually have your OWN copy of the last round of madness to follow along. "Recounting Minnesota: Blogging the Al Franken Election Saga" is available from amazon (what ISN'T these days?) or, for the same price but with much more actually going to the author, at www.carleeman.com, and follow the Orange links (of course.) Or straight from the publisher:
Another series? OK, I've learned. Got to meet this emergency right away. I will DEFINITELY attend tonights' DRINKING LIBERALLY event(6pm to 9pm) at the 331 Club on the Northeast side of Minneapolis. Its the only way I'll make it through another one of these, especially if the Dark Scenario starts unfolding. (More on THAT in a day or 2.)
Well that some of the latest from yust southeast of Lake Wobegon.