After taking a Thanksgiving break, the Minnesota recount is back, with about 14 counties to go and 10 percent of ballots still to be counted. With Friday’s final-count deadline looming, here’s a recap of recent news: Tough math for Franken, Palin v. Ludicris, and another 599 looks at screwy ballots.
Challenging Math: The Strib reports that a win by Al Franken will be something of a long shot: He’ll have to win “6 percent of his challenges of Coleman votes even if Coleman fails to succeed on any of his challenges.” Ramsey County election manager Joe Mansky says historical trends show that’d be difficult. “Franken’s best [and perhaps his only] chance will be in court, not with the recount,” he added.
While Norm Coleman’s campaign puts the gap between the candidates at 282 votes, Team Franken sticks with a lower figure: just 73 votes.
Ballot Challenge: We’ve said it before, the best way to grasp what election officials are up against is to look at the disputed ballots themselves. The Strib kindly offers 599 for your consideration. (h/t Braublog)
Sen. Franken (or Coleman), you’re late for work: Sharon Schmickle writes an important piece at MinnPost today about the possibility of Minnesota’s Senate race not being decided by the time Barack Obama is sworn in as president. Obama is predicted to make his first executive act the signing of economic-recovery legislation, and to make that happen Democrats are already negotiating with colleagues and drafting legislation (Schmickle says Wisconsin Rep. Dave Obey is working on the jobs-creation component now). So even if a victor is declared by Dec. 19, which is hugely unlikely, the winner will already be late for work. Schmickle says some Republicans, alarmed by the financial crisis, will likely cross the aisle to support the Democrats’ package (not without a fight, though), but a Sen. Franken or a Sen. Coleman in Minnesota could make a huge difference.
Palin and Ludicris campaigning: OK, it has little do to with the Minnesota recount — except that it involves another yet-to-be-resolved Senate race that could help give Democrats a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate: Ahead tomorrow’s run-off, Sarah Palin is heading to Georgia today to campaign on behalf of incumbent Sen. Saxby Chambliss. The big gun Democrat Jim Martin is calling in? Rapper Ludicris.