Meeting On Frivolous Ballot Challenges Gets Heated

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But those ballots were not withdrawn later, when the Canvassing Board met.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

  • Dave K

    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.

  • Stacie

    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.

  • Mister

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

  • YellowDog

    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.

  • rudog

    Dayton? OMG…..Wake up Hennepin county!


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

      • rudog

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

  • Greg Laden

    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?

  • PO'dGOPVoter

    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

  • MET

    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!

  • lou

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

  • Mike

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

  • soapboxgod

    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.

  • PO'dDemInPrincipleOnly

    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…

  • why not be silly

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

  • Ray

    Mark, I could not have said it any better…

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  • Say no to Drunken Emmer

    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.

  • Tony

    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.

  • Craig

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

  • Tony

    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.

  • Tony

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

  • Timothy

    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.

  • vu

    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.

  • Get Read Dude

    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?

    • Ugottabe kidding

      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

  • A Landman

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

  • dunnski57

    A Landman:

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

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