Recount to Decide Outcome of Minnesota Senate Race

Posted November 5, 2008 at 12:09pm

The hotly contested Minnesota Senate race is headed to an automatic recount.

As of midday Wednesday, Sen. Norm Coleman (R) led comedian Al Franken (D) by 725 votes — or about three-tenths of a point — according to the Minnesota secretary of State’s office.

The Associated Press called the race for Coleman Wednesday morning, but has since retracted that declaration.

Coleman declared victory early Wednesday morning, and then was followed by National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Ensign (Nev.) when vote tallies gave him a greater lead.

But by early afternoon, Coleman led Franken, 42 percent to 41.97 percent with former Sen. Dean Barkley (I) garnering 15 percent.

Through a spokeswoman, the NRSC stood by their earlier statement that Coleman had won re-election.

Franken welcomed the recount, which he said was the first in the state since 1962.

“There is reason to believe that the recount could change the vote tallies significantly,” Franken said in a statement. “Let me be clear: This race is too close to call, and we do not yet know who won.”