Emmer talks recount plans, notes ‘questions’ about ballots


In his first media appearance since election night, Republican candidate for governor Tom Emmer met with reporters at the Minnesota state capitol Tuesday to address the recount. He declined to weigh in on the state GOP’s allegations of incompetence and fraud, but he did frequently allude to reported irregularities in Hennepin County on election night. 

“The Minnesota voters have spoken – we just don’t know what they’ve said yet,” Emmer said. “There’s a process in place that is moving forward. We should know shortly what the outcome is, at least we are hopeful for that.”

“I’m just going to let the process go as it is supposed to by law.”

He said that so far the canvassing process has resulted in some gains for Emmer.

“Since 10 a.m. last Wednesday, we have gained over a thousand votes, and there are some questions that remain with respect to absentee ballots, with respect to military ballots, with respect some incredible mistake that was supposedly corrected in Hennepin County,” he said. “I think these things need to be addressed.”

He added, “Clearly there was something going on that nobody really understands right now.”

But that incident has been pretty well explained by Hennepin County. When updated numbers came in from county precincts at 10 p.m. on election night, a Hennepin County election worker accidentally added those numbers to the total unofficial count instead of taking the old numbers out and replacing them with the new numbers.

But despite that – and the fact that the election night results were not official – state party chair Tony Sutton has been trying to cast doubt about the integrity of the entire election.

But when pressed directly on whether Emmer thought there was incompetence or fraud, he said, “I think we will let the process work itself out.”

At the press conference, Emmer said it is possible for him to make up the difference in votes. “You’ve got a 0.4 percent separation, just a few thousand votes.”

He said he would abide by the outcome of the process.

Other moments from the conference:

On the hiring of former Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Eric Magnuson, Emmer said, “I think he’s one of the most respected, if not the most respected, legal jurist in Minnesota.”

On his leaving the country to Canada and absence from the press over the last week, he said, “I got about as far away from here as I could for a few days. Forgive me if after 16 months, if I took the better part of Friday, Saturday and Sunday… I took time to spend with my boys. I’ve been trying to honor some family time as well.”

Asked if he would file a legal challenge if the recount didn’t go his way, he said. “I think that’s premature. Minnesotans need to have confidence that the legal process that is in place is followed.”