Note 1: MN Senate numbers changed to reflect update by Secretary of State.
Note 2: Changed the number again, down to 236, due to a data entry error in one county.
For liberals in Minnesota, the local news was a bit less positive than the big national story.
The race for US Senate and top Jewish-Minnesotan-guy-born-in-New-York between Norm Coleman (R,i) and Al Franken (D) is extremely close. At last count, Coleman leads by 236 in a field of 2.9 million votes. The difference is 0.008% of the total votes cast. To put that in perspective, if you equate the total votes to the length of the Golden Gate Bridge (8,981 ft), the difference between Coleman and Franken is about 9 inches. Wow! In Minnesota, a statewide recount is triggered automatically by any difference less than 0.5%, so that will be happening.
According to MN Sec. of State Mark Ritchie on MPR yesterday, the vote will first be certified by the canvass boards in mid-November, and then each county will recount their votes by hand. It is not uncommon, apparently, for people to be baffled by the, honestly, really easy instructions on the Scantron ballots. Ritchie says some people will mark an X or a check mark in the bubble instead of filling it, or circle the candidate. So the counties will look for these votes, under the no-doubt annoyingly watchful eyes of both campaigns' legal observers.
I do, of course, hope for a net gain for Franken of at least 237 votes. It's time the Brave New Workshop had a Senator. But for every me in this state, there's approximately one not-me on this question. The divisiveness of this Senate race was unusual (clearly proven by the numbers). It's tough to say what Barkley's effect on the race was. I suspect he got a lot of "a pox on both your houses" voters. There was as much, if not more, advertising against each major candidate on the basis of personal rancor as actual issues. For everyone who finds Franken personally repellent, there are those who feel the same about Norm Coleman. I'm one of these latter, finding Coleman somewhat moderate as Republicans go but also completely slimy and opportunistic. His suggestion that a recount should not proceed due to the "need for the healing process" plays into this impression. Seriously, Norm, "hopefully, you don't have TV ads during an election recount"? No kidding; why are you even bringing it up?
In other MN election news, I'm disappointed that Madia lost to Paulsen in the 3rd district. Madia's biography (young, South Asian heritage, Iraq war vet, Republican until recently) and moderation make him seem like he should be appealing to moderates and a kind of person the Democratic party could use more of. I hope he finds his way into politics yet.
An open letter to the 6th District: What the hell? Conservative district or no, to re-elect Bachmann after she shit the bed on national TV and then spent two weeks distorting or lying about what she said? And if El Tinklenberg can't make use of an opening like that, and the flood of national money that ensued, I've got no use for him. Bachmann's an embarrassment. The 6th, like the Gubernatorial race, needs a better DFL candidate (seriously, Dems, Mike Hatch?).
Finally, this guy is both an asshole for his actions, and an idiot for writing about it in public under his real name. Good riddance.