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Franken Camp Claims To Be Winning Recount

After Saxby Chambliss' convincing victory in the Georgia Senate runoff yesterday, the only remaining undecided Senate seat belongs to Minnesota, where Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman are battling for the upper hand in a recount that remains exceedingly close. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Coleman's lead stood at 303 votes at the end of the day Tuesday, with 93 percent of the total vote recounted.

But Franken has gained some momentum: He picked up an unexpected 37 votes thanks to "a combined machine malfunction and human error on Election Day," and, perhaps more importantly, the secretary of state's office has asked local election officials to reexamine roughly 12,000 rejected absentee ballots. The Franken camp has been pushing to add to the recount about 1,000 ballots that it believes were improperly rejected, and the Star Tribune reports that the move appears "to give at least some new life" to that effort.

Franken's team, in fact, claims its candidate has moved ahead: On a conference call today, Franken campaign attorney Marc Elias said its internal count has Franken up by 22 votes. As Politico notes, Franken's side says the 303 figure is misleading because it does not include roughly 6,000 ballots disputed by both sides, ballots which are not included in the official tally.

Franken's side says its calculations result from an inclusion of these disputed ballots; the Coleman camp, unsurprisingly, characterizes its opponent's math as "false." Franken's campaign is now withdrawing 633 ballot challenges, and Elias says they will likely withdraw many more; the Coleman camp says it will probably follow suit, perhaps next week. Any remaining challenges will be resolved by the state canvassing board starting December 16th.

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