BUFFALO, Minn. (AP) — Republican Tom Emmer plans to see a recount through despite trailing Democrat Mark Dayton by almost 8,750 votes in the undeclared race for Minnesota governor, Emmer’s attorney said Monday.
Asked whether any thought was being given to waiving the manual ballot-by-ballot review, Emmer attorney Tony Trimble answered bluntly, “None whatsoever.”
Trimble spoke to reporters after Hennepin County — Minnesota’s largest — certified its vote totals. Emmer picked up six votes from his election night tally after a suburban precinct rechecked its numbers. The county makes up one-fifth of the statewide vote.
While the Hennepin County board met, Emmer had a private 45-minute discussion with outgoing Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty and his top staff about the possible handover between administrations. Emmer hasn’t appeared in public since the night of the election.
Dayton has his own meeting with Pawlenty on Tuesday.
Unless Dayton’s lead grows beyond a half of one percentage point — roughly 10,500 votes — the recount will proceed at public expense. While the recount is deemed automatic, state law includes a waiver provision for the trailing candidate.
A schedule calls for the recount of 2.1 million ballots to conclude by mid-December, but there’s a possibility of litigation known as an election contest. Such a lawsuit could extend the race for weeks or months, meaning Pawlenty would have to stay on beyond the normal expiration of his term.
All counties are required to submit verified election results to the Secretary of State within 10 days of the general election. The state canvassing board meets to certify statewide results Nov. 23.
Dayton attorney David Lillehaug said the small shift in votes in Hennepin County bodes well for his candidate.
“We expect the results strongly in favor of Mark Dayton to hold up very well,” Lillehaug said.
Meanwhile, the state Republican Party, which is coordinating Emmer’s recount efforts, announced that a prominent strategist would lead the team. Ben Golnik is a former party executive director, who ran presidential candidate John McCain’s campaign in the state in 2008. Golnik also oversaw the GOP’s state Senate election effort this fall in which the party took control of the chamber for the first time in almost four decades.
The recount is limited to a review of ballots. Republican allegations of voter fraud or other irregularities would have to be held over for an election contest.
Trimble said he was looking into reports of problems at polling places. He cited a story in the Minnesota Daily, a student newspaper at the University of Minnesota, that officials were investigating whether members of a Democratic-leaning group improperly vouched for voters they did not know. Vouchers are used by people registering on Election Day to prove they live in a particular precinct.
(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)