By Pat Kessler, WCCO-TV

ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Thousands of ballots will get a closer look from the lawyers in the Minnesota gubernatorial recount, but it’s becoming clearer that Republican Tom Emmer won’t overcome a lead by Democrat Mark Dayton.

Some of those challenged ballots got a closer look Friday by the canvassing board at the State Capitol, and the board was not happy with what it saw.

Emmer had promised to withdraw thousands of “frivolous” ballot challenges, but by Friday evening that had not been done. A canvassing board meeting to discuss those challenges turned tense.

At a hastily-called and rare press conference, Emmer said he’d withdraw thousands of “frivolous” ballot challenges made by his campaign.

Hear Tom Emmer’s Opening Statement

But he reserves the right to go to court.

“Let me be very clear.  I am not currently planning an election contest,” said Emmer.

But those ballots were not withdrawn later, when the Canvassing Board met.

They saw some of the hundreds of Dayton ballots Emmer challenged, like one on the basis that the voter had written in names for other races.

Canvassing Board Judge Gregg Johnson was appalled.

“It kind of borders on the ludicrous,” said Johnson.

That set off a number of testy exchanges at the stormy meeting.

Emmer’s attorney claimed to have never seen the Renville County Dayton votes, which he said should never have been challenged.

“You’ve got a representative in Renville County of the Emmer campaign who was zealous, who was overzealous,” said Magnuson.

That did not appease board members. In fact, it appeared to irritate them more.

Supreme Court Justice Paul Anderson lectured Magnuson, who happens to be the former Chief Justice.

He warned him and the Emmer team about penalties for violating professional rules of conduct.

“And you understand the consequences of those rules, talk about frivolous matters, do you not?” said Anderson.

It didn’t seem like it Friday, but the canvassing board still intends to get its work done on schedule, by Dec. 14.

The numbers make it unlikely Emmer can win a recount, but what he’ll do next is undecided.

Emmer reserves the right to go to court based on what the recount shows, based on whether those frivolous and other ballot challenges are successful and based on a supreme court opinion that he is still expecting. He said he’ll have to weigh a lot of things and then decide after Dec. 14.

WCCO-TV’s Pat Kessler Reports

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Telly Mamayek Reports

Watch The Full Press Conference

WCCO-TV’s Holly Wagner Reports

Comments (54)
  1. Dave K says:

    If in fact he concedes it will improve my opinion of him. I have to believe it is not Tom but the party apparatus that wants to drag this out to keep Pawlenty in office a few months to pass their agenda.

  2. Stacie says:

    Tony Sutton is the biggest criminal in all of this. He is pushing it forward for his agenda and his face time. Th GOP would do well to be shed of him. If Emmer conceded it will definitely improve the GOP standing.

  3. Mister says:

    I hope that after Emmer concedes, the huge idiot Tony Sutton will close his big mouth.

  4. YellowDog says:

    Knowing Emmers and the Minnesota Republican Party, he isn’t going to concede anything, and in fact may be ready to complain about the recount system that is ongoing. Don’t look for a concession.

  5. rudog says:

    Dayton? OMG…..Wake up Hennepin county!

    1. PTDEM&REP says:

      I didn’t realize that only one county voted for all of Minnesota when it comes to the Gov race… Wake up rudog..OMG.

      1. rudog says:

        I guess you would have had to pay attention to where most of Dayton’s votes came from. Pay ATTENTION PTDEM!

  6. Greg Laden says:

    It is probably safe to say that Norm Coleman lost credibility and respect for the long term because of the way he and his people pushed and pushed and pushed, causing us to have only one senator in Washington for a palpable amount of time.

    Trimble is starting to take on the physical demeanor of some evil cartoon character because he always seems to be on TV making us all wait for our democracy to start, waiting for the brats to finish with their tantrum.

    There is in fact only one political reason for Emmer to keep going, and we all know what it is: To have one short period of time, just a day or two or three, with a Republican legislature and a Republican Governor in power.

    The question is this: Is Trimble willing to be a laughing stock and Emmer willing to terminate his political careers (or at least make it much less viable than otherwise) for those three days?

    And, with all due respect for the Bench, is Anderson going to play the role of facilitation of this process, of helping Emmer along to a State Supreme Court challenge?

  7. PO'dGOPVoter says:

    Thomas Thomas Thomas – here’s the deal. I want my vote back. So that just put you another one behind Dayton.

    I already have sent to Ms. Bachmann a plea for her to fein a health issue and leave office too. My vote there didn’t matter. lol

    A trend is occuring Rep’s – many of us are now seeing you as the sitting in the same pig stye as the DFL. And I don’t want slime to totally prevail and dictate my life so —- I’m voting DFL in the next election. Even tho the smell will be there too

  8. MET says:

    Was that really worth the time and effort of a press conference? I agree with Mr. Laden. He knows he’s not going to win this but they have to get something out of it…so hang on long enough so Tpaw has a change to screw us some more!!! And Sutton is about as obnoxious as a person can get!! Something doesn’t smell right…..skunk smells his own smell first!

  9. lou says:

    we should get rid both partys there both bunch crap every time they screw up

  10. Mike says:

    Maybe Emmer could have Tom Hackbarth “investigate” where his votes went?

  11. soapboxgod says:

    Amazing how many are still stuck on the left/right paradigm and can’t see it’s merely a facade to give the appearance that you have a choice in the political process.

  12. PO'dDemInPrincipleOnly says:

    I agree with Lou, both parties are responsible for this mess. Whoever wins, the state of Minnesota will be the real loser. Dayton is a stale old blue-blood, and Emmer is a crazed crybaby loon.

    Entenza was the only one who had real solutions to our state’s problems. But no, the DFL just had to fall back on an ineffective former senator and one of the richest members of the Minnesota aristocracy. And the GOP… uggh, I don’t want to drive my own blood pressure up venting about them, it’s just too horrifying.

    Alas, another four years of wasting money, wasting time, and accomplishing nothing…

  13. why not be silly says:

    Why not just play rock paper scisors and whoever wins gets to be the new Gov!!??

  14. Ray says:

    Mark, I could not have said it any better…

  15. Say no to Drunken Emmer says:

    Emmer who tried to change DWI law to allow drunk drivers back on the road after refusing breathalyzers made my choice really easy. It’s no surprise that Republicans endorse tax cuts for themselves instead of closing the budget deficit and keep education funding more intact. Self-serving pricks.

  16. Tony says:

    Heard the news conference also, he said no such thing, who wrote this story?
    Now they are also going after the vote count vs. registered voter count in of all places Hennepin County, imagine that, what a sincere guy.

  17. Craig says:

    Typical Republican cry Baby. Stalling the just like last time.

  18. Tony says:

    They want to have control of both houses and the governors office for at least awhile, it’s completely obvious. But they think they can somehow do it under everyones noses. This Sutton clown is quite a piece of work.

  19. Tony says:

    We need “none of the above” as a choice. Jesse was right. RCV at a minimum.

  20. Timothy says:

    I agree we need to move on here. Emmer you lost, now concede so we can get to work.

    The one this that I am always concerned about during election time is all of the money that is spent. Seriously the amount of money is ridiculous.

    The whole process needs to be fixed, from the beginning to the end.

    Just think of how that money could be helping the people of our nation/state, who are struggling, losing their homes, can’t pay their property taxes that keep increasing, out of work, not able to put food on the table for their families or pay for medical care.

  21. vu says:

    With 200 years in civilization, people still act like back in stone age. Here is America, take your time; Americans have lot of money and don’t know what to do with it. Everyone knows what the outcome will be….but give T. Emmer the benefit of doubt- duo process-not guilty until proven. just relax….and wait for the outcome.

  22. Get Read Dude says:

    Tony & Time….get a life. Jesse is an idiot.
    People need to work and earn a living. Enuf of the handouts.
    Hennepin County vote total looked fixed…. and screwed up on a count. Noyt surprised.
    Enmmer probably at this point needs to move on to Tax and Spend Dems the state so much likes.
    So the Question is…. Dayton smarter than a 5th grader?

    1. Ugottabe kidding says:

      Fair question.
      Now one for you

      Can Emmer drive sober?

      Or Michelle Bachmann avoid opening her famous El Stupitto Mouth for a day?

      No to all

  23. A Landman says:

    Oh Stacie, you say Sutton is a crook? Google Mark Ritchie if you want to know a real crook!!!

  24. dunnski57 says:

    A Landman:

    Now THAT’S funny!!!! Ritchie has class, honor and honesty. Sutton has all but three of those qualities.

  25. Kim M Hunter says:

    What a strange election. The voters of Minnesota voted for the Republicans throughout just about every possible instance. Then the same voters appeared to vote for Mark Dayton?? Makes no sense. No wonder Emmer is hanging on for the final count. Something does not appear right. Hang in there, Emmer, and make sure the real vote is right and correct. Good Luck.

    1. Jeff says:

      Maybe Minnesotans want a legislature that will spend wisely(or promises too) and a Governor that will impose taxes fairly across the spectrum?

      1. PoliticsBad says:

        That was the manner in which I voted

    2. SwallowIt says:

      So Kim – you vote based on the 3 letters that follow a candidates name?
      You friggen need to stop voting if so.

  26. ha.ha.ha says:

    GOP: Challenge, challenge, challenge
    Tom: You meant “drill, drill, drill”?
    GOP: No. This time is different. Challenge the ballots
    Tom: But there is none of hanging chad out there.
    GOP: Do whatever you can to keep Tim as “hanging chad”
    Tom: Okay, okay.


  27. Steve says:

    Mr Emmer…you said when all this started that after the recount, if you did not pick up enough votes to win you would concede…KEEP YOU’RE WORD !!!

  28. AlfRude says:

    DFL: Mark you may have won the Governors race!
    Mark: Huh? What state did I run in?
    DFL: Minnesota Mark.
    Mark: Minnesota? I thought I lived in St. Paul.
    DFL: That’s a city Mark not a state.
    Mark: Then what was I running for again?

    Scary that thisd man was a school teacher!

  29. Steve says:

    Kim Hunter…the same thing happened last time Pawlenty was elected…people voted Dem up and down the ballot…yet chose a Republican GOV…..

  30. AlfRude says:

    Let’s see now. The majority of the people voted for either Tom Emmer a republican or Tom Horner and independent. I guess Mark Dayton got the overwhelming approval of Minnesotans. Had to really think about that one didn’t you?

  31. Lynn says:

    Why don’t you spend some time as an election judge and find out how regimented the process actually is? You are ripping on a process you are clueless about. Election judges are required to stay in the polling place as long as it takes to reconcile all the checks and balances that are tracked throughout the day. In November I was at the polling place from 6 AM to 10 PM – we could not leave until we matched up counts from the machine and the number of ballots and the number of voters that were logged. Try it in 2012. Then you will have the knowledge to judge the process.

  32. moline man says:

    Think about it. Emmer lost because so many people voted for Tom Horner. It’s not rocket sicence, brain surgery or the man on the grassy knoll. It’s simple math.

    1. EasyNow says:

      Wrong – Emmer lost because he is EMMER 😉

  33. Patrick says:

    If Emmer refuses to concede after he loses the recount we will know the state GOP is holding out for a window in which T-Paw can work with the new incoming republican house and senate. If the state GOP tries this criminal power grab the people of Minnesota will need to stage a massive protest regardless of what party they wanted to win. The unencumbered transfer of power is vital to our democracy.

  34. GomersPile says:

    Golly jeeeeee… how come Emmer ain’t a man Andy?
    Even I know enough to quit before Aunt Bea snots me hard

  35. Abby says:


    Suck it up and quit wasting our money! Too bad all of your personal refinancing history didn’t help you, I would have loved to see YOU balance the budget. GOP lost, better luck next time! Keep your tears out of your beer and get a SOBER driver next time!

  36. AlfRude says:

    Lynn, I am fully aware of the process. Thanks for assuming I am not. If you believe that all the voting precincts and districts follow the process that you described so well, you’re dreaming. The other item I would love to discuss is if a ballot has anything other than the marks at or near the circles, toss it. I know many people with different illnesses and ages and not one of them colors on their ballot like a two year old.

  37. AlfRude says:

    Lynn, by the way I forgot to ask if you wanted some sypathy for the long hours you worked on election day. It sounded like you felt that it was a long arduos process. Frankly you sound a little full of yourself.

  38. PK says:

    Kim, I voted for several republicans. I did not vote for Emmer. Why? I am a public employee and I used to be a waitress. He is arrogant and out of touch. And just because people didn’t vote for Emmer doesn’t mean they voted for Dayton…

  39. Katie says:

    At a time when many Minnesotans are feeling the pinch of tough economic times and rising prices, it is absurd that millions of dollars be allocated to this process. Clearly the margin is so large that such frivolity on Emmer’s and the Republican party is embarrassing at best. I can think of so many better ways to spend this money.

  40. Pavel says:

    Frivolous ballots are not the problem. The problem is frivolous Republicans who want to spend more money on frivolous challenges to tie it up so Pawlenty can “act” as governor. The Supreme Court Chief Justice said it all.

  41. Dan says:

    Emmer, two words – MAN UP

  42. Kyle says:

    Kim M Hunter, shut your pie hole. What doesn’t seem right about Dayton having more votes. Quit your crying and grow up. Just live your quiet life in the suburbs with your health insurance and retirement plan. Just because you won the other 2 races DOES NOT automatically give you the third. That is just idiot speak.

  43. R III says:

    It is a sad day in America when it takes so much money to get elected. Promise the lazy something for nothing and throw enough money into it and you too can be Governer. Perhaps if Mark Dayton shared some of his happy pills with Tom Emmer he would forget about the challenges.

  44. Liz says:

    I’d like to see how much Pawlenty pac is donating to this recount. I do think like others he is pushing for more time in office. And this man has ideas of running for President? Heaven help us!!

  45. neeg says:

    louie anderson stick with doing stand up and not politics oh my bad that’s tony sutton louie please for give me

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