Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer withdrew 2,580 ballot challenges over the weekend after the State Canvassing Board gave the go-ahead for the campaigns to evaluate those frivolous ballots. In the end, the Emmer team narrowed the number of frivolous challenges that it will send to the board to just 24. Meanwhile, as the recount process draws to a close, CNN has become the first media outlet to call the race for DFLer Mark Dayton.
“The fact that we withdrew a large number of challenges doesn’t mean that we necessarily agree that these were frivolous challenges,” Emmer’s attorney Eric Magnuson told reporters on Saturday. “They’re simply challenges that we didn’t think would prevail in front of the canvassing board.”
He said, “What we are trying to do is make sure that the count is accurate. Once we figure out exactly what the ballot count is, then [Rep. Emmer] will be able to make some choices as to where it goes from there.”
On the Dayton side, attorney Charlie Nauen told reporters at a Saturday press conference, “We found out what we really knew going in: That virtually all of these challenges are indeed frivolous.”
He said the number of ballots selected by Emmer’s team to go forward – 24 – represented “less than one percent of the ballots that had been challenged over the last five days.”
“There were many opportunities for the Emmer team to do what they did today,” he said. “In other words, look at the ballots and make the decision that these were frivolous.”
He added that Dayton has a 9,000-vote lead over Emmer. “The recount is over. There’s no doubt that come the 14th that lead will be a substantial lead. The numbers speak for themselves.”
CNN seemed to agree with Nauen. On Saturday, it called the race for Dayton. Emmer has not conceded the race, however.