Republicans lawyer up for recount in governor's race
ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Republican Party is bringing in a Washington,
D.C. recount expert to organize its effort to overturn a 9,000-vote
governor's race deficit.
"The race for governor is not over," GOP Chairman Tony Sutton said this
morning, outlining his plan to challenge Democrat Mark Dayton's thin
lead over Republican Tom Emmer.
The race was too close to call this morning, with 100 out of more than
4,000 precincts left to report. If the margin does not change
dramatically, an automatic recount will be needed.
Dayton had 912,442 votes, for 43.66 percent. Emmer's total was 902,609
for 43.19 percent.
"We are concerned there are so many discrepancies," Sutton said.
During voting on Tuesday, Sutton complained that vote scanning machines
were breaking down all over the state. Then on Tuesday night Hennepin
County made a 400,000-vote reporting mistake, which added 60,000 votes
to Emmer's total and tightened the race considerably.
Sutton said that after the 2008 U.S. Senate recount that Secretary of
State Mark Ritchie, a Democrat, should have fixed problems with the
Ritchie said Tuesday's election came off with few problems.
If there is a recount, he added, the state constitution requires Gov.
Tim Pawlenty to remain in office until a new governor is certified.
Ritchie said vote totals will change in the next couple of weeks as
local elections officials and county canvassing boards examine their
numbers. Once they send in their final figures, the state canvassing
board will consider them on Nov. 23, and determine if a recount is
A recount could go on for weeks, and if there is a court challenge, it
easily could go into January or later. The 2008 U.S. Senate court case
was decided June 30, 2009.
An automatic recount is called if the vote margin is less than 0.5
percent. Although the trailing candidate can decline a recount, Sutton
gave no indication that Emmer would do that.
Sutton left the door open to asking for a recount even if the margin is
larger than needed for the automatic recount. And his hiring of
Washington lawyer indicates that a court challenge is possible.
Don Davis reports for Forum Communications Co.