UPDATED 2:15 p.m. Although AP called Norm Coleman the winner in the Minnesota Senate race, Franken trailed by only 462 votes out of almost 2.9 million cast, with all but one precinct reporting. That razor-thin vote count triggers an automatic recount under Minnesota law, so the winner will not be known for some weeks.
The recount will not begin until after the November 18 meeting of the state canvassing board, which will officially direct the Secretary of State’s office to conduct a recount.
Senator Norm Coleman’s campaign website proclaimed “VICTORY,” and Coleman for Senate Campaign Manager Cullen Sheehan released an official statement saying, in its entirety:
“The Senator is thrilled and humbled to be given the opportunity to serve the people of Minnesota for another six years. Today is a time for us to come together as a state and a nation. There is much work to be done, and the Senator is ready to roll-up his sleeves and bring people together to get it done.”
Al Franken’s statement warned that, “This race is too close to all, and we do not yet know who won.” Franken’s statement focused on the recount ahead:
Under Minnesota state law, we will now enter into an automatic statewide canvass and recount. It will be the first one since 1962, when I was 11 years old. I remember that year very clearly for two reasons. The recount between Elmer L. Anderson and Karl Rolvaag. And the Gophers were in the Rose Bowl that year.
And we have twice as many ballots to count this time.
Let me be clear: Our goal is to ensure that every vote is properly counted.
The process, dictated by our laws, will be orderly, fair, and will take place within a matter of days. We won’t know for a little while who won this race, but at the end of the day, we will know that the voice of the electorate was clearly heard.
There is reason to believe that the recount could change the vote tallies significantly.
Our office and the Obama campaign have received reports of irregularities at various precincts around the state. For instance, some polling places in Minneapolis ran out of registration materials. Our team has been working on those issues for several hours already, and they will continue to do so this morning as the recount process begins.
Let me be clear: This race is too close to call, and we do not yet know who won. We are lucky enough to live in a state with built-in protections to ensure that in close elections like these, the will of the people is accurately reflected in the outcome.
This has been a long campaign, and it’s going to be a little longer before we have a winner. Senator Coleman, Senator Barkley, and I have done a lot of talking. Minnesotans have waited a long time to have THEIR say. And thanks to our state’s laws, we will eventually understand precisely what they have said.
Senator Dean Barkley, the Independence Party candidate, won about 15% of total votes cast. His post-election statement, expressed pride in his campaign’s effort and congratulated Coleman and Franken on hard-fought campaigns.
I’m very proud of our effort over the past few months. We didn’t have the most money or the most high-profile endorsements, but we put up a great fight and gave Minnesotans the third choice they deserve and that’s what this has always been about. Tonight isn’t the end of our effort. It’s a new beginning and I look forward to playing a role in building our party in the years to come.
I congratulate Norm Coleman and Al Franken on hard-fought campaigns and wish the winner the best of luck in answering the great challenges facing our country. We’re not going to get this nation back on track as Democrats or Republicans. We have to start being Americans first and I hope Al and Norm move us in that direction and will do anything I can to help.