Franken Watch: 221 To Go *important update*

As of 11/07 at 6pm CST:

Norm Coleman 41.99% (1211556)   
Al Franken 41.98% (1211335)

Do the math: Al Franken now trails Norm Coleman by only 221 votes.

The gap was 571 votes when Norm declared "victory" Wednesday morning. And all this is happening even before the hand recount of nearly 3 million votes.

In other words...


UPDATE: The Franken campaign needs us. Via email:
We are going to put staff in place in every county in Minnesota to ensure that every vote is properly counted. And we need you to help fund our effort.

Believe it or not, this race isn't over. And it looks like it will be decided by just a few votes. We need every resource we can muster to ensure that Minnesotans' voices are heard - and to make sure that every vote is properly counted.

Contribute here: Al Franken for Senate Recount Fund.

UPDATE II:Very encouraging news from the Star-Tribune:

An Associated Press analysis of the nearly 25,000-vote difference in Minnesota presidential and U.S. Senate race tallies shows that most ballots lacking a recorded Senate vote were cast in counties won by Democrat Barack Obama.

The finding could have implications for Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and DFLer Al Franken, who are headed for a recount separated by the thinnest of margins -- 234 votes as of Friday, or about 0.01 percent. ...

Three counties -- Hennepin, Ramsey and St. Louis -- account for 10,540 votes in the dropoff. Each saw Obama win with 63 percent or more.

Ballots that showed a presidential vote but no Senate vote are called the "undervote." Statewide, more than 18,000 of those ballots came from counties won by Obama with more than half the vote. About 6,100 were in counties won by Republican John McCain with at least 50 percent.


There's one more critical statistic: About 8,900 people weren't recorded as voting for president, according to county-by-county turnout estimates kept by the Secretary of State's Office.

That nearly 9,000 people would skip the closely watched race is questionable, raising the possibility that as many as 33,700 ballots might be subject to change in a hand recount.

Now we know why Norm so badly wanted Al to immediately concede.

We can take this guy!

Tags: Al Franken, norm coleman, Senate (all tags)




If the numbers change, let us know in the comments!

by Scan 2008-11-06 04:21PM | 0 recs
Ultimate Franken Irony

The ultimate irony would be that Franken wins after the canvassing and tally double-checking; would Coleman eat his words about the superfluousness of a recount?

by Zeitgeist9000 2008-11-06 04:44PM | 0 recs
No then he'll want a recount of the Recount...

I still cannot believe sleazebag Norm Coleman is ahead.

by louisprandtl 2008-11-06 05:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

They are reviewing ballots now. There are lots more to go. Sometimes poll workers get tired or people get sloppy. But Minnesota judges will review ballots and I am convinced Franken will win. However we do it, no concessions this time. Norm Coleman was hand picked and headrubbed by Bush to be his vector. We cannot relent.

People can also use our ActBlue site as well to donate:

by Jeter 2008-11-06 09:18PM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

Speaking of judges and recounts, what's the make-up of the Minnesota Supreme court and whats the likely-hood a Roberts Supreme court would hear an appeal?


by jlars 2008-11-07 11:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

Sketchy stuff, for what it's worth

Minnesota Supreme Court Justices

Bios are vague.
Seven members.
Four Pawlenty appts.
Who knows how many would follow rule of law on voter intent.

Chief Justice Eric J. Magnuson - Appointed by Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Justice Alan C. Page -- Progressive

Justice Paul H. Anderson - "VISTA (Volunteers In Service to America) attorney, 1968-69; served as a neighborhood attorney for New Haven Legal Assistance, New Haven"

Justice Helen M. Meyer -- Appointed by Governor Ventura; was a trial lawyer

Justice G. Barry Anderson -- Appointed by Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Justice Lorie Skjerven Gildea -- Appointed by Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Justice Christopher J. Dietzen -- Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court, 2008 - present, worked in "complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on real estate litigation and valuation disputes" in private practice

by MAL Contends 2008-11-07 12:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

That is Justice Alan C. Page -- Progressive and Football hall of player for the Minn Vikings and the chicago Bears and one of the four purple people eaters on the Vikings defensive.


by giusd 2008-11-07 04:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

Yeah, he's great.

Also was a big union activist.

by MAL Contends 2008-11-08 04:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

He is a great.  Some may not remember but after Sen Wellstone died just before the 2004 election there was a lot of talk about nominating Justice Page to take his place and then for some silly reason they went with Mondale. IMHO if page had been nominate he would have beaten Coleman.


by giusd 2008-11-08 05:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

I seem to recall that Page didn't want the position, but I could be wrong.

The closest I could find was this article from shortly after Wellstone's death:

The list of potential replacements for Wellstone on the ballot has included several politicians one generation younger than Mondale, including Mondale's son, Ted, and Skip Humphrey, the son of another former vice president. Also mentioned was Alan Page, a state Supreme Court justice and a former Minnesota Vikings star. He showed no interest in a U.S. Senate campaign when he was approached two years ago.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-11-08 07:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

You might be right.  Maybe i heard this on cable but for some reason i seem to remember it was early on and they were talking about page and then Mondale just seem to move in.


by giusd 2008-11-08 09:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

I seem to recall that Page didn't want the position, but I could be wrong.

The closest I could find was this article from shortly after Wellstone's death:

The list of potential replacements for Wellstone on the ballot has included several politicians one generation younger than Mondale, including Mondale's son, Ted, and Skip Humphrey, the son of another former vice president. Also mentioned was Alan Page, a state Supreme Court justice and a former Minnesota Vikings star. He showed no interest in a U.S. Senate campaign when he was approached two years ago.

by Johnny Gentle Famous Crooner 2008-11-08 07:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

Doesn't the U.S. Senate ultimately decide whom to seat?

If the courts engage in naked partisanship the U.S. Senate can just overrule the decision on a party-line vote.

This is a very bad outcome. But it does put some pressure on the courts to do the right thing.

by Carl Nyberg 2008-11-08 08:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

I clerked for the Minnesota Supreme Court not very many years ago.

Page, "PHA" (Paul Anderson), and Meyer are staunchly progressive. Gildea is well right-of-center. I don't know Dietzen, GBA, or Magnuson well enough to be confident, but given that Pawlenty appointed them I think it's safe to assume they're conservative. (Although AFAIK the main reason Magnuson was appointed, recently, was that much of the state appellate bar thought he was the top Minnesota Supreme Court expert we had. I don't think that was a terribly partisan pick.)

I'm proud to have worked for the court; in my experience, Minnesota judges, including the conservative ones I've worked with, are men and women of integrity. (Part of the reason for this is that a non-partisan board vets and nominates finalists for judicial appointments. Governors aren't forced to nominate one of the finalists, but in recent years they always have.) There is no Nino Scalia or Sam Alito on Minnesota's high court.

Maybe it's my loyalty talking, but I think we can be confident that even the justices whose partisan leanings we disagree with will hear, and rule on, any future Franken vs. Coleman case in a proper and impartial manner.

by Rieux 2008-11-08 09:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Ultimate Franken Irony

This will not be decided in the US supreme court.  The US senate is the final arbiter.

by lojasmo 2008-12-04 06:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch

Hey, thanks for this diary. It's getting interesting.

I'd love to have a situation like 2004 evolve. There were several Washington websites with very specific projections of the Gregoire/Rossi recount. They were generally right wing and very confident of a Rossi win by about 1500 votes. Then a bundle of King County votes turned up, reversing the advantage and those conservatives howled. LOL.

Frankly, I wish it were some state other than Minnesota. My impression is their system is pretty good and it will be pulling teeth to cut into the deficit, once the initial massage is complete.

by Gary Kilbride 2008-11-06 05:19PM | 0 recs
Great news!

Keep us up to date.

by psychodrew 2008-11-06 05:24PM | 0 recs
have provisionals been counted?

by highgrade 2008-11-06 05:52PM | 0 recs
Re: have provisionals been counted?

i've heard that MN has same-day registration, so there are no provisionals there. however, there are likely thousands of ballots that those machines couldn't read and the recount will be done by hand. Franken has a real shot.

by Scan 2008-11-06 06:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch
I doubt we will have a lot of additional changes until the recount starts. Maybe another 50 or so.
I mean how many times will a heavy Coleman Anoka precinct double scan 250 absentee ballots?
So I predict that Norm will come out 185 up on the 18th.
The 18th is the next big date, County certification.
Only after that can the recount be called let alone begin.
by Judeling 2008-11-06 06:33PM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch

how wierd-i read some town just submitted its tallies today giving franken a 200 vote boost. i wonder if things get slimmer and irregularities appear as franken alleges would congress have aearings on this to determine who won?

by art3 2008-11-06 06:39PM | 0 recs
Fight on, Al!

Norm Coleman has absolutely no business in Paul Wellstone's seat.  Count every vote.

by Jay R 2008-11-06 07:39PM | 0 recs
Re: Fight on, Al!

Heck Coleman doesn't even have business in a toilet seat.

by Mayor McCheese 2008-11-07 04:08AM | 0 recs
kudos n/t

by semiquaver 2008-11-07 09:11AM | 0 recs
How about in the bowl?

by lombard 2008-11-08 07:36AM | 0 recs
Just some facts

2.9 million ballots were cast for president.
24,800 fewer were cast for senate.

In September a recount in a Supreme Court race was done. It involved 110,000 votes. No irregularities were reported and only 7 votes were switched based on improperly marked ballots.

Now a Supreme Court primary race is probably the least prone to intent errors of any race I can think of. So 184 improperly marked ballots in the minimum to be expected.

by Judeling 2008-11-06 08:22PM | 0 recs
Re: 50 bucks bute/default/thanks

On the contrary Al, THANK YOU!

by QTG 2008-11-07 03:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch *updated*

What does Coleman do if Al takes the lead before the recount?

wouldn't he look pretty stupid after he is behind to go, you know yes, lets do a recount now that I am losing!

by TruthMatters 2008-11-07 03:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch *updated*

Someone suggested that Al should go up on the air as soon as the count reaches +1 in his favor and demand


with the snarky expression he has perfected.

I'd pay to see that.

by QTG 2008-11-07 03:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch *updated*

Evidence suggests that the fear of looking stupid is not a strong deterrent in politics.

by the mollusk 2008-11-07 07:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch *updated*

the state gov is repub with that and the exit polls I am optimistic

by rocky 2008-11-07 04:57AM | 0 recs
A correction

The GOVERNOR of the state is a Thug.

But the election is run by the SECRETARY of STATE, who is a very able, fair DEM.

As a resident of Minny, I am very confident that the recount will be done as fairly as is humanly possible.

by Thresholder 2008-11-07 07:23AM | 0 recs
T-Paw isn't a thug

Pawlenty is a lot of things, and I don't like him in the least, but he's not a thug.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-07 07:40AM | 0 recs
You sound as bad as a wingnut

Just like "Obama is a terrorist!" Let's keep such terms for those who really deserve them.  I live in Minnesota, too, and he isn't that bad.  

by lombard 2008-11-08 07:40AM | 0 recs
Well, I'm not that confident based on the exits

The CNN exit showed a close race with a very slight Franken lead.  The problem is that our exit polls in this country seem slightly skewed towards Democrats.  I think there may be a self-selection issue.  In many countries as many as 90% of people approached participate in exit polls.  In the US the figure is more like 50%.  The much lower participation creates a very real possibility of nonresponse bias.  

by lombard 2008-11-08 07:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch *updated*

Anybody know what happens if it end in a tie?

by Phlip 2008-11-07 07:11AM | 0 recs
Coin flip?

Coin flip probably.

by Zeitgeist9000 2008-11-07 07:13AM | 0 recs


by Dracomicron 2008-11-07 07:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Thunderdome

I'd be okay with that.  Franken would break Coleman into at least two pieces.

by lojasmo 2008-11-07 10:00AM | 0 recs
Normally I'd disagree

I mean, Coleman fights dirty.

However... Al is highly motivated and Norm seems like a broken man these days.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-07 10:09AM | 0 recs
Re: Normally I'd disagree

well, Al Franken was an accomplished Grecko-Roman wrestler, and I do believe still has some moves.

by dem sam 2008-11-07 06:06PM | 0 recs
Re: Thunderdome

Didn't Franken actually appear in one of those MTV Celebrity Deathmatch claymation shows?  I think he was fighting Limbaugh.

by the mystical vortexes of sedona 2008-11-07 10:15AM | 0 recs

I don't watch that stuff.  Why would I, when Robot Chicken is on?

by Dracomicron 2008-11-07 12:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Probably

I think it's about 8-10 years older than Robot Chicken and has probably been off the air for a while.

by the mystical vortexes of sedona 2008-11-07 12:25PM | 0 recs
Minnesota's expert on elections

The Ramsey County election manager Joe Mansky, who is the senior election manager in the state, estimates that 2 out of every 1000 ballots usually have a problem (bad markings, light marking, etc).  That amounts to about 6,000 ballots that will have to be examined by hand.

by Hughsterg 2008-11-07 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch *updated*

why is it even this close?

in this environment Franken should of won without the need for a recount.

by liberalj 2008-11-07 12:07PM | 0 recs
Which environment is that?

The one where a third party candidate can get 15% of the vote?

This is Minnesota we're talking about.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-07 12:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Which environment is that?

The same state where Obama won easily, where Amy Klobuchar won easily in 2006.

I love Al Franken, i want him to be Minnesota's next Senator. But he's underperformed.

by liberalj 2008-11-07 12:38PM | 0 recs
No question

But you have to remember that he's a rookie going up against a heavyweight.

by Dracomicron 2008-11-07 12:43PM | 0 recs
Re: No question

Kagan v Dole, Merkley v Smith?

I'm not down on Franken, if i was there i'd vote and volunteer for him. I'm just pointing out what we all know is true, Franken has underperformed the generic democrat

by liberalj 2008-11-07 01:08PM | 0 recs
Re: No question

you are searching for reasons. this is the same state that picked jesse venture to be governor. you can certainly pretend as if the electorate of a state doesn't matter, but to be quite honest reality belies your attempts to do so.

by bruh3 2008-11-07 08:10PM | 0 recs
Re: No question

In a race with a third-party candidate, that's essentially meaningless. Are you ignorant or just trolling?

by Justin Alexander 2008-11-07 09:21PM | 0 recs
Re: No question

So its trolling to point out when Democrats underperform even when i clearly stated that he has my support.

Trolling would be if i started repeating the Republican smears about him, pointing out that he underperformed the Democratic ticket substantially isn't trolling. Its just a fact.

by liberalj 2008-11-08 01:25AM | 0 recs
Re: No question

Merkley isn't a rookie, he was a multi-term state rep, and was the state house majority leader last session. He knew his politics, and had no skeletons in his closets.

Hagan was a 5 term state rep.

Franken is a true rookie. This is his first political campaign, and having a flamboyant background may be a nice way to start off with some extra name recognition, but it is not necessarily a great basis for stability in a political campaign.

by letterc 2008-11-08 12:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Which environment is that?

Almost any generic liberal senator could have won that seat.  I love Al as a personality, but he's easy to dislike and polarizing.  

by reggie44pride 2008-11-07 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Which environment is that?

b.s as i said above- your argument for the state of mn is proven incorrect by an examination fo the states recent electoral past.

by bruh3 2008-11-07 08:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Which environment is that?

BS--that's a compelling argument.

What was Coleman's approval rating during the campaign?

What was the environment for Republicans this year?

And Franken is tied with him?

That's underperforming.  Period.

by reggie44pride 2008-11-07 10:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Which environment is that?

well now that you put a period at the end of it that certainly fully takes into account all facts rather than just the one you want to cherry pick

by bruh3 2008-11-07 10:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Which environment is that?

Didn't you know that pointing out anything remotely negative about a Democrat is trolling?

by liberalj 2008-11-08 01:27AM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch *updated*

Check the exit polls to understand why it's close.

Democrats had almost 2x the defection to Coleman that Coleman had to Franken.  That is, Coleman kept his base more strongly.

Among Democrats:  Franken 79-9-13

Among Republicans:  Coleman 85-5-10


Obama voters:  Franken 74, Coleman 11, Barkley 15
McCain voters:  Coleman 81, Franken 5, Barkley 14

In both breakdowns, Coleman does a better job keeping "the base."  In a race decided by the thousandths in the decimal place, a few percent is huge.

by reggie44pride 2008-11-07 12:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch *updated*

Its also important to remember that Coleman was a Democrat for many years (and while that doesn't mean much to us outside of Minnesota it probably matters to his former Dem supporters.) The main reason he became a repub was because his douchieness made it impossible for him to rise higher in the DFL.

by JDF 2008-11-07 03:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch *updated*

No its important to only consider those facts which reinforce ones own arguments. Afterall its not possilbe that he was under performing because MN likes independents or as you mention Coleman was a former Democrat. There is only one choice. Those that these people conclude. This is the central rule of blogging.

by bruh3 2008-11-07 10:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch *updated*

I knew there was a reason I didn't fit in here ;-)

by JDF 2008-11-08 05:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch *updated*

I stopped blogging a month or two ago because i just got tired of the group think and/or level of interaction. To be honest, after some fo the interactions in the last few days I think I will go back to lurking. I am much more calm that way.  I am much more intersted in pushing toward action, and one can spend  a lot of time arguing with people who have their own ideas that aren't necessarily any better than your own. Afterall, these people could be right- it could be Franken, but given the circumstance, they shouldn't be so quick to assume that just because they thought it- that makes it true.

by bruh3 2008-11-08 10:16AM | 0 recs

by Zeitgeist9000 2008-11-07 02:02PM | 0 recs
Re: 221

I just saw that! Awesome.

by Scan 2008-11-07 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch: 221 To Go

All the Franken criticism is unnecessary.. he won the primary and was our candidate..We need him in the senate.

I like the guy A LOT and I really hope he turns this around

I saw him do a book reading maybe three years ago and he felt bad it was a short event and invited everyone to his hotel bar later that night and said he'd buy everyone that showed a drink..

He's a good guy. .is he a conventional politician? of course not... but to me thats part of the charm.. it would be great to have a COMEDIAN in congress

Last thing to keep in mind: Wellstone was his friend and thats partly why he is going for that seat...

by obama4presidente 2008-11-07 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch: 221 To Go

it's this weird thing on the left to criticize for the sake of criticism without any sense of context

by bruh3 2008-11-07 08:12PM | 0 recs
Undervotes in BLUE counties

Encouraging news, significant Undervotes in Hennepin (Minneapolis), Ramsey (St. Paul) and St. Louis (Duluth).

by CVDem 2008-11-07 04:27PM | 0 recs
Same Day Registration

I think same day registration will work in Franken's favor.

The county registrars around Minnesota have to verify eligibility in some cases even though same-day registrants' votes are cast.

So, there are absentee and other votes still to be counted which fall under this category!

by Zeitgeist9000 2008-11-07 04:36PM | 0 recs

Is posting encouraging news about AK as well.

59 could be in sight, and then we roast Zaxby like the Chicken Hawk he is.

by activatedbybush 2008-11-07 04:38PM | 0 recs
That under vote

in Democratic districts may not be that strange.

I was amazed to hear and see many people come to the polls to simply voite for Obama and not vote on anything else. They seemed like new voters and they only knew about or cared about one thing, to vote for Obama, Period.

This kind of thinking NEEDS to change!

by kevin22262 2008-11-07 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: That under vote

this is belied by historical fact regarding votes. often undervote occurs in democratic enclaves, as per here, and its about the demographics of the democratic base, the fact that the machines are often handling urban area rather than rual capacities etc. if you dont; believe me, look it up. I remember even in 2000 and 2004 they were saying that on average there is anywhere from a 1 to 2 percent of the votes in democratic areas which aren't counter due to various problems in those areas. the only reason these things are often ignored is that most races aren't this close.

by bruh3 2008-11-07 08:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch: 221 To Go *important update*

Minnesota Secretary of State explains the recount process: web/2008/11/07/midday1?refid=0

by wasabi 2008-11-08 04:04AM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch: 221 To Go *important update*

Why Franken has "underperformed" and why no "traditional liberal" stepped up to challenge Coleman are connected.  The answer to both is MONEY.  

Coleman may be a lot of things, but he is not afraid to raise money.  Two years ago, after a Democratic wave, Coleman knew that he had to raise big money to win this election.  He did that.  This scared away many possible challengers who knew that they would have to raise an equivalent amount of cash to compete.

Franken jumped in.  He has East and West Coast connections to a lot of money and some celebrity.  He raised big money, but was also "defined" as a tax cheat, pornographer, a bully, an amateur, full of hate and a lot more.  Of course, there is a lot of stuff written by Franken to make those charges, heck some have a grain of truth.  

Coleman hammered Franken, who is an amateur politician, and took control of the race.  He had the money to portray himself as a moderate independent.  Franken fought back and caught a break when a lawsuit was filed in Texas that alleged that Coleman's friends were funneling money to Norm by way of Norm's wife--paying her for work she didn't do.

There are two people that have made this race relatively close.  One is Barack Obama who had sufficient coattails to lift Franken into a dead heat.  The other is W, who has tarnished the Republican brand to the point that Coleman didn't say "Republican" very often in his own commercials.

by flatblade 2008-11-08 07:24AM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch: 221 To Go *important update*

That's by far the best summary. Another variable is evicting a senatorial incumbent is hardly a cinch. We seem to take it for granted after the success the past two cycles, but it's generally smack uphill.

That race was tied for my second priority with Titus over Porter, after Obama. I followed it closely and Franken's amateur politician flaws often were evident. I was surprised he seemed to take little advantage of his humor. It was effective when it briefly appeared, but in general Franken was overly straight faced and spoke strangely slowly in the debates I saw, and a more negative focus than I expected. I thought he would be upbeat and allow the natural Democratic tide to take over.

I don't expect to get over the top in this race. Normally when recounts reverse the outcome it's due to a previously uncounted batch of ballots, like Gregoire over Rossi in 2004. In this case we're counting on voter error, and while it likely will work in our favor to some degree, I would make Coleman the favorite to hold on.

by Gary Kilbride 2008-11-08 03:20PM | 0 recs
I would normally agree with Kilbride

but with only 221 votes under out of 3 million, and with the limitations of modern voting methods, I think it's at least 50/50 for Franken

by Reptile 2008-11-08 03:53PM | 0 recs
Re: Franken Watch: 221 To Go *important update*

by Reptile 2008-11-08 03:53PM | 0 recs


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