According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Al Franken (D) is now beating incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman (R) by 48 votes, said Nate Silver in FiveThirtyEight. That number, based on an unofficial tabulation by the Minnesota secretary of state’s office, is “roughly in accordance with the 35-50 vote lead projected by the Franken campaign.” But “these are draft numbers, and as such are subject to change.” We may not know the next senator from the state until Dec. 31.
“The bottom line is that the race is too close to call,” said John Hinderaker in Power Line. The Minnesota Supreme Court is set to hear a Coleman challenge on 130 votes he says were double-counted, but Franken is counting on about 1,600 absentee ballots that he says were improperly rejected. It looks like the state high court will make the “critical decisions” in this election.
Since Coleman’s “path to victory” depends on “winning legal battles,” said Eric Kleefeld in Talking Points Memo, he’s “now definitely the one playing defense” in this endless recount. And even if he gets a “big victory” at the Supreme Court, Coleman still needs lots of separate legal victories to “rob Franken” of projected gains from the absentees.
Coleman wouldn’t be in this spot if the Canvassing Board were being consistent, said John Lott and Ryan Lott in Fox News. The board has been especially erratic at “divining voter intentions” on contested ballots, and its tough calls usually benefit Franken. Given that its “decisions have easily supplied more than the 78 vote lead that the board projects Franken to end up with,” there will be “long lasting questions about the legitimacy” of whoever wins.