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Al Franken’s improving odds
How a recount has narrowed the gap in Minnesota's tight Senate race
 

What happened
The gap between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Sen. Norm Coleman narrowed to 126 votes on Thursday, after Minnesota officials counted about 46 percent of the 2.9 million ballots cast in the state's undecided Senate race. (Minneapolis-St. Paul Star-Tribune)

What the commentators said
We're clearly "heading for a photo finish," said John Hinderaker in Power Line. But it's hard to interpret the figures so far. It would make sense that Franken gained ground if, as expected, the first precincts recounted were in Democrat-friendly cities, but it's unclear if that was the case.

Even after the recount is complete, said Markos Moulitsas Zuniga in DailyKos, there will be the challenged ballots to contend with, and Coleman is being more aggressive in challenging ballots, which might give him the advantage. But for now, "all that is important is that the deficit is narrowing, and that if this rate holds (no guarantee, of course) then Franken will narrowly win the race."

One reason for all the confusion, said David Knowles in AOL News, is that we're dealing with a "razor-thin contest" in which people cast votes using different equipment in counties across the state. Oh, and the Democrats' hopes for a filibuster-proof Senate majority hang in the balance. "Why can't this country finally standardize the process of how we vote, especially when it comes to races that have national implications?"

 

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