Presidential Race Maps Writing on the Wall

2012 US SENATE RACE CHART 54 DEM 1-TCTC 45 REP

Posted Nov 05, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

2012 US SENATE RACE CHART

54 DEM       1
-TCTC        45 REP



SAFE DEMOCRATIC

CA, DE, ME, MD, MN, NJ, NY, PA, RI, WA, VT, WV

LEANING DEMOCRATIC

CT: Murphy (D) vs McMahon (R)

FL: Nelson (D) vs McGillicuddy (R)

HI: Hirono (D) vs Lingle (R)

IN: Donnelly (D) vs Murdock (R)


MI: Stebenow (D) vs Hoekstra (R)

MA: Warren (D) vs Brown (R

MO: McGaskill (D) vs Akin (R)

NM: Heinrich (D) vs Wilson (R)
OH
: Brown (D) vs Mandel (R)

VA: Kaine (D) vs Allen (R)

WI: Baldwin (D) vs Thompson (R)

 

TOO-CLOSE-TO-CALL


MT : Tester (D) vs Rehberg (R)

 

LEANING REPUBLICAN

AZ: Carmona (D) vs Flake (R)

ND : Heitkamp (D) vs Berg (R)

NE: Kerry (D) vs Deb Fischer (R)

NV: Berkley (D) vs Heller (R)


SAFE REPUBLICAN

MS,  TN, TX, UT, WY

MN Gov. 2010: Norm Coleman Favorite For MN GOP Nomination

Posted Nov 20, 2009 at 1:35 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a poll by Rasmussen Reports, about half of Minnesota Republicans would back Republican former Sen. Norm Coleman, should he run for governor in 2010. Coleman--defeated for reelection to the US Senate earlier this year in a seven-month recount battle--has not indicated that he intends to run. But if he does, he starts with a huge lead over the rest of the GOP field among likely voters, with a whopping 50% of the vote. Second place, at 11% percent, goes to state Rep. Marty Seifert, who stepped down from his post as House minority leader to run for governor.

Minnesota: Recount Struggle Hurts Ex-Senator's Future In State

Posted Jul 22, 2009 at 1:30 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a new Public Policy Polling survey, "more than half of Minnesota voters say they have an unfavorable opinion of Norm Coleman and his actions during the recount. "52% of respondents said they now view Coleman negatively, with 38% still holding a positive opinion of him. 72% of Republicans but only 10% of Democrats give him good reviews, and independents are split 49/37 against him as well. 54% of voters in the state said the way he handled the recount against Al Franken made them less likely to support Coleman in the future for Governor or some other office, compared to 26% who said it made them more inclined to vote for him in a later contest."

New MN Senator Has Generally Unfavorable National Rating

Posted Jul 07, 2009 at 2:10 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a recent Rasmusen survey, newly minted Minnesota Democratic US Senator, Al Franken, has a relatively low national approval rating: "44% of U.S. voters have an unfavorable opinion of former “Saturday Night Live” comedy . . . as he prepares to join the U.S. Senate as its newest Democratic member . . . 34% have a favorable opinion of Franken, who will be sworn in today as [the next] senator from Minnesota. 22% are not sure what they think of him." Rasmussen alsocorrectly points out that "it is fairly typical for individual legislators to have negative favorability ratings on a national basis."

Coleman Concedes After Court Rules That Democrat Franken Won MN US Senate Race

Posted Jun 30, 2009 at 8:51 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Republican Norm Coleman has conceded the 2008 US Senate race in Minnesota to Democrat Al Franken, after the state Supreme Court ruled this afternoon that Franken won. The court ruled unanimously in Franken's favor.

Minnesotans Expect Their Governor To Run For President (And Fail)

Posted May 27, 2009 at 1:48 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

 

While Republican Minnesota governor Pawlenty remains popular, most expect him to run for president in 2012, but fail to achieve his party's nomination: "53% approve of Pawlenty’s job performance, including 28% who Strongly Approve . . . 46% don’t approve of the Republican governor, with 26% who Strongly Disapprove. . . 59% of the state’s voters now say it is at least somewhat likely that Pawlenty will run for president, including 17% who say it’s Very Likely he will do so. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say the governor is not very or not at all likely to seek the White House. But just 37% say Pawlenty is even somewhat likely to win the GOP presidential nomination in 2012. Only seven percent (7%) say it’s Very Likely. For 55%, it’s not likely that their governor will be the party’s standard-bearer."

 

Minnesota Voters Want Coleman (R) To Concede

Posted May 20, 2009 at 1:14 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to Rasmussen Reports, 54% of Minnesota voters say Republican incumbent Norm Coleman should concede the race after months of legal challenges and let Al Franken be seated in the U.S. Senate. But 41% disagree . . . 87% of Democrats want Coleman to quit, while 77% of Republicans want him to stay in the fight. Most (53%) of those not affiliated with either major party say that Coleman should concede. 63% of all voters in the state are now convinced that Franken will ultimately be named the winner of the Senate race. Just 16% say Coleman will win in the end. 21% are still not sure who the winner will be."

Minnesota US Senate: Voters Want Republican Coleman To Concede

Posted Apr 28, 2009 at 1:51 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A new Minneapolis Star Tribune poll has bad news for 2008 Republican US Senate candidate: most voters want him to concede the race to Democratic challenger Al Franken, who now leads by several hundred votes: "Nearly two-thirds of Minnesotans surveyed think Norm Coleman should concede the U.S. Senate race to Al Franken, but just as many believe the voting system that gave the state its longest running election contest needs improvement. A new poll has found that 64% of those responding believe Coleman, the Republican, should accept the recount trial court's April 13 verdict that Democrat Franken won the race by 312 votes. Only 28% consider last week's appeal by Coleman to the Minnesota Supreme Court 'appropriate.' Large majorities of those polled said they would oppose any further appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Should Coleman win at the state Supreme Court, 57% of respondents said Franken should concede. And 73% believe Coleman should give up if he loses at the state's highest court."

Minnesota US Senate: Court Delays Decision Until At Least June

Posted Apr 27, 2009 at 1:21 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

It does not look like the endless US Senate race in Minnesota will end anytime soon, as the state's highest court has now delayed any ruling on the matter until at least June: "The state Supreme Court set the schedule today for the legal showdown between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman over the Senate seat that has been vacant since January. The schedule, set by the five justices who will hear Coleman's appeal, appears to hew more closely to his proposed schedule than the quicker one proposed by Franken. Coleman must file his brief in the case no later than next Thursday; Franken has until May 11 to do so. Coleman then has until May 15 to file his reply brief. The justices will hear the appeal on June 1." 

Minnesota US Senate: Republican Coleman Not Backing Down

Posted Apr 20, 2009 at 1:49 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Republican candidate Norm Coleman--despite loosing his race for reelection to Democrat Al Franken, according to a three-judge panel--is clearly prepared to keep the seemingly endless race going. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "Norm Coleman is hitting a different kind of campaign trail this week. The former Republican senator is using a media blitz to convince Minnesotans weary of the recount process and frustrated that they are still a senator short that he has good reason to appeal Democrat Al Franken's victory in the U.S. Senate election trial. And if the Minnesota Supreme Court sees it his way, he said, he thinks he can win."I'm hopeful. I think the law is on our side," he said. In a meeting Thursday with the Star Tribune editorial board, Coleman said that the principle of enfranchising legitimate voters is more important than leaving Minnesota without two senators for another few weeks. But Coleman also acknowledged that many Minnesotans are tired of the seemingly interminable recount process, in which he trails by 312 votes after Monday's ruling by a three-judge panel. He is doing a round of interviews, he said, "for the purpose of letting folks know that we're doing this for a reason."

Court Declares Democrat Franken Winner In Minnesota US Senate Race

Posted Apr 14, 2009 at 2:19 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A three judge panel in Minnesota has declared Democrat Al Franen the winner over Republican Norm Coleman in the November 2008 US Senate race: "Three judges soundly rejected Norm Coleman's attempt to reverse Al Franken's lead in the U.S. Senate election late Monday, sweeping away the Republican's claims in a blunt ruling Coleman promised to appeal. After a trial spanning nearly three months, the judicial panel dismissed Coleman's central argument that the election and its aftermath were fraught with systemic errors that made the results invalid. 'The overwhelming weight of the evidence indicates that the Nov. 4, 2008, election was conducted fairly, impartially and accurately,' the panel said in its unanimous decision. The panel concluded that Franken, a DFLer, 'received the highest number of votes legally cast' in the election. Franken emerged from the trial with a 312-vote lead, the court ruled, and "is therefore entitled to receive the certificate of election."

Minnesota Recount: Democrat Al Franken's Lead Expands

Posted Apr 10, 2009 at 1:54 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In the endless Minnesota recount, Democrat Al Franken's lead has expanded a bit: "Franken extended his lead over Republican Norm Coleman in Minnesota's U.S. Senate election, after the counting of about 350 formerly rejected absentee ballots this morning. Franken captured 198 of the ballots, while Coleman took 111. The ballots added 87 votes to Franken's recount lead, enlarging his margin over Coleman to 312. The result makes it even more likely that, barring an unforeseen circumstance, Franken will prevail in the election lawsuit that Coleman filed in January to contest the Democrat's 225-vote recount lead. The three-judge panel presiding over the case has not said when it will issue a final decision."

MN US Senate Recount: Coleman Says Not Over Even if Franken Is Certified

Posted Mar 20, 2009 at 3:04 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Even if the three-judge panels moves to certify Democrat Al Franken as the winner of November's US Senate race, Republican Norm Coleman may not give up. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the race may be far from over: "Top Republicans are encouraging Coleman to be as litigious as possible and take his fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court if he loses this round, believing that an elongated court fight is worth it if they can continue to deny Democrats the 59th Senate seat that Franken would represent. And in pushing a possible Supreme Court conclusion, Republicans are raising case history that makes Democrats shudder: Bush v. Gore. Coleman’s team says the different methods Minnesota counties use for counting absentee ballots violated the Constitution’s equal protection clause — echoing the same 2000 Florida recount case that effectively handed the presidency to George W. Bush. By making a constitutional case, Republicans are already looking ahead to federal court."

Re-vote in Minnesota?

Posted Mar 10, 2009 at 2:06 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Voters in Minnesota, growing weary of the seemingly endless election process for the US Senate, are split of the prospect of a revote, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, which reports on a new that shows a scant plurality--46% of likely voters in the state--favor a re-vote in the race between Republican Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken. 44% oppose a new vote, a statistical dead heat, given the poll's margin of error of 4.5 percentage points: "Earlier this week, in the midst of the continuing recount trial Coleman questioned whether the three judges presiding in the trial will ultimately be able to decide who won the election. However, his lawyers stopped short of asking the judges to order a new election."

The Tribune continues: "Given the recount results that gave Franken a 225-vote lead and Coleman's failure so far to substantially expand the pool of votes, Republicans in the state look more favorably on a revote than Democrats do.Among self-identified Republicans, 71 percent support a do-over, while 69 percent of Democrats are opposed. Among independent voters, a revote is supported by just 12 percent."

MN Three-Judge Panel Rules Franken Cannot Be Certified As Winner

Posted Mar 09, 2009 at 2:21 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In the latest move in the endless Minnesota US Senate post-election recount, the Minnesota Supreme Court on Friday refused Al Franken's request to be immediately certified as winner of the U.S. Senate election, saying that step "must await a final resolution of the long-running recount trial and possible appeals." The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that "even as the high court issued its ruling, Franken's lawyers received a sympathetic hearing in their attempt to throw out Republican Norm Coleman's legal challenge of Franken's 225-vote recount margin. In a 5-0 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that DFLer Franken was not entitled to be certified as the election winner until the legal contest has made its way through the state courts. The justices said state law blocks an election certificate from being issued until then."

Minnesota Recount: Court Hands Coleman Big Setback

Posted Feb 26, 2009 at 1:18 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The three-judge panel reviewing the results of the US Senate recount in Minnesota has handed Republican Norm Cokeman a big setback. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: "Ballots that Norm Coleman wants to count took a beating in testimony on Tuesday, while ballots he thinks are illegal were protected by the judges hearing the U.S. Senate trial. In the latest in a series of setbacks for Coleman, the three-judge panel refused to preserve identifying marks on counted absentee ballots that he claims have been rendered illegal by recent rulings of the court. The decision hampers the ability of Coleman, a Republican, to challenge ballots tallied in the final phase of the recount, when DFL Al Franken took a 225-vote lead."

Situation Looking Good For Democrat Al Franken In Minnesota Recount

Posted Feb 20, 2009 at 1:04 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Things are looking up for Democrat Al Franken in the Minnesota recount post-game. As Politico reports on its website: Does Republican norm Coleman have any real chance of retaining his Senate seat? The answer, "according to state political and legal analysts, is that it would take a miracle. Miracles do happen in politics — but four weeks into a court case that will decide the winner of Minnesota’s tortured Senate race, the GOP incumbent is facing just-about-insurmountable hurdles to overcome the 225-vote deficit he was saddled with at the end of the official recount. The court itself has not yet counted a single vote. Instead, a three-judge panel is considering a pool of disputed ballots and steadily ruling which are legitimate and should be counted, and which should be thrown out. Coleman wants most of the ballots included, believing they will tilt the election in his favor."

"But so far, the court’s decisions favor the Democratic challenger, comedian and author Al Franken, experts say. And that trend is expected to continue. 'Norm Coleman’s life support system is slowly weakening,' said Larry Jacobs, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. The latest blow came Friday, when the judges considered 19 different categories of rejected absentee ballots and ruled that 12 of the categories had to be thrown out. That lowered the number of absentee ballots eligible for inclusion from about 4,800 to around 3,300 — down from about 12,000 at the beginning of the trial."

Court Rules Against Coleman in MN, Big Setback For Republican

Posted Feb 16, 2009 at 1:54 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the three-judge panel evaluating the recount of the Minnesota US Senate race has made a major ruling against Republican Norm Coleman: Dealing a blow but not a knockout to Coleman's hopes, the judges "tossed out most of the 19 categories of rejected absentee ballots they were considering for a second look, making it clear that they won't open and count any ballots that don't comply with state law. On its face, the ruling looked to be a victory for DFLer Al Franken, whose lawyers had urged the judges to turn down 17 of the 19 categories and said Friday that they had very nearly done it. But Coleman's attorneys saw it differently, saying that the ruling leaves untouched about 3,500 of the 4,800 rejected absentee ballots they want the court to open and count, enough to make it possible for Coleman to overcome Franken's 225-vote certified recount lead."

 

Minnesota US Senate Recount: Franken Asks Court To Instate Him, Now

Posted Feb 06, 2009 at 12:44 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that lawyers for Democrat Al Frenken asked Minnesota's highest court on Thursday to certify him as the winner of his tight Senate race with Republican Norm Coleman without waiting for the outcome of his rival's legal challenge: The court "heard oral arguments on Franken's request for a certificate of election now, at least on an interim basis, so that Minnesota's empty seat can be filled without waiting the months it may take for the courts to resolve Coleman's separate lawsuit over the recount, which gave Franken a 225-vote advantage. The justices took the case under advisement and didn't say when they might rule, but their many questions suggested they were skeptical of Franken's arguments."

Minnesota US Senate Recount: Court Rules In Coleman's Favor

Posted Feb 04, 2009 at 2:07 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The endless Minnesota Senate race may not be over, after all. The three-judge panel reviewing the recount ruled on Tuesday that nearly 4,800 rejected absentee ballots may be reconsidered in the U.S. Senate recount trial. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune,"the court granted Democrat Al Franken’s request to limit the universe of ballots that Republican Norm Coleman can seek to have counted, rejecting Coleman’s attempt to have about 11,000 rejected absentee ballots reconsidered. But Franken had asked the judges to limit the review to only the 650 ballots cited by Coleman when he filed his lawsuit last month challenging the recount. With Franken holding a 225-vote lead after the recount results were certified, the 4,800 ballots that may be reconsidered would appear to be enough to put the ultimate outcome in doubt. The court order indicates that any of the ballots that complied with state law should be counted, along with those where errors occurred through no fault of the voter."

Minnesota Voters Ask Court To Count Their Ballots

Posted Jan 29, 2009 at 1:46 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Minnesota voters appealed to a state court panel in Minnesota to count their absentee ballots: They testified that their ballots had been "unfairly rejected as Republican Norm Coleman argued thousands of disqualified absentee ballots should be counted in the U.S. Senate race. 'Perhaps my signature is not as good as it once was," Gerald Anderson, of St. Paul, told the three-judge panel hearing Coleman's lawsuit. "It gets cloudy and crooked. I am 75 years old.' But that shouldn't have disqualified his vote, he said: 'I want it back. I'm entitled to my vote.' A statewide recount gave Democrat Al Franken a 225-vote edge. The personal stories that Anderson and five other voters told are just one front on Coleman's effort to have more votes counted. Coleman's legal team had intended to submit copies of thousands of ballots as exhibits, but the judges disqualified them as evidence Monday because campaign workers had marked on some envelopes. On Tuesday, much of the panel's time was spent with state officials, lawyers and court staff working out a plan to get about 11,000 rejected absentees to St. Paul from counties throughout the state. Actual testimony didn't begin until afternoon in the case, expected to last weeks."

Minnesota Recount Now In The Hands Of The Court

Posted Jan 27, 2009 at 1:11 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "a three-judge panel will begin what could be a weeks- or months-long trial to decide who won Minnesota's U.S. Senate race. The action starts at 1 p.m.in St. Paul. The judges -- from St. Cloud, Minneapolis and Thief River Falls -- are largely unknown outside their community's legal circles. The three now will hear testimony and inspect evidence on the recount, which ended three weeks ago when the Canvassing Board certified results showing DFLer Al Franken with a 225-vote lead over Republican Norm Coleman. The judges already have shown each side their capacity for firm action. On Thursday, they rejected Franken's motion to dismiss the lawsuit. The next day, they swept aside Coleman's request to have inspectors fan out across the state in search of problem ballots."

Court Rejects Franken Bid

Posted Jan 23, 2009 at 4:09 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Yesterday, a three-judge panel has refused Democrat Al Franken's request to block a lawsuit filed by Reoublican incumbent senator Norm Coleman over the Minnesota Senate recount outcome. Franken won the recount by 225 votes. The dismissal allows the trail to move forward on Monday.

Minnesota Recount: Franken Takes Coleman To Court

Posted Jan 22, 2009 at 1:51 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

More news in the endless Minnesota US Senate recount: Al Franken asked a three-judge panel on Tuesday to dismiss Norm Coleman's lawsuit challenging a recount that left him trailing Franken by 225 votes: Democrat Franken's legal team argued "that Minnesota law and the U.S. Constitution prevent Coleman, a Republican, from waging an exhaustive review of the recount that was certified by the state Canvassing Board and give the U.S. Senate power to fill the seat. Coleman says state law permits a court challenge to press his claims of widespread voting irregularities, including assertions that absentee ballots from Republican-leaning areas were wrongly rejected and that ballots in DFL areas were counted twice."

Minnesota Recount: Coleman Proposes Staging Of Lawsuits

Posted Jan 15, 2009 at 3:57 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the end may be near in the seemingly endless Minnesota US Senate recount: "In the first sign that Coleman might cut short his challenge of the Senate recount, his campaign proposed that his lawsuit be conducted in stages. The proceedings would continue through all the stages only if he gains enough votes to show he could emerge the winner. In a court filing, Coleman's lawyers suggested that the trial's first phase begin Feb. 9. The campaign downplayed the significance of the announcement and did not elaborate on how many votes Coleman would have to gain during each stage in order to proceed."

Minnesota US Senate Recount: Coleman (r) Not Giving Up

Posted Jan 12, 2009 at 4:57 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In a sign that the Minnesota US Senate race may not be over--but most probably still will end with Democratic challenger Al Franken assuming the seat--the legal team of Republican incumbent Norm Coleman "has begun pressing some Minnesota counties for documents on hundreds of thousands of ballots that were not previously disputed. The lawsuit that Coleman filed last week to erase DFLer Al Franken's 225-vote lead cites a few dozen specific ballot errors that he says favored Franken. But Coleman's camp is also now casting a much wider net for other mistakes that could cost Franken votes." According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the Coleman team rests much of its case on 654 absentee ballots that local officials rejected for not complying with state law. "Coleman wants the three-judge panel that will hear his lawsuit to include those ballots, most of which come from rural and suburban areas favorable to Republicans."

Minnesota Canvassing Board Certifies Final Results: Democrat Franken by +225

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 10:16 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Via the Minneapolis Star Tribune: the Minnesota Canvassing Board certified final results this afternoon in the US Senate Race. But, as the paper warns of the endless recount, that won't end the battle between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman, whose Senate term ended on Saturday: "Moments after the board certified that Franken had eked out 225 more votes than Coleman, attorneys for Coleman said they would file a lawsuit within 24 hours."

Monnesota Supreme Court Rejects Coleman Petition

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 5:45 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minnesota Supreme Court has reject a bid by Republican incumbent Norm Coleman to "have hundreds of rejected absentee ballots considered in the U.S. Senate recount, apparently clearing the way for a state board to certify election results showing Democrat Al Franken on top — and also opening the door to a post-recount lawsuit that the Coleman campaign said 'is now inevitable.'" The state Canvassing Board is scheduled to meet this afternoon to review recount results.

Democrat Al Franken To Be Declared Winner in Minnesota Recount

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 2:25 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Associated Press reports that Democratic challenger Al Franken will shortly be declared the winner over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in the Minnesota US Senate recount. The state Canvassing Board is "posed to certify the results of the recount in Minnesota's grueling Senate election in Al Franken's favor — but that doesn't mean the race is definitely over. The board was to meet Monday and was expected to declare which candidate received the most overall votes from nearly 3 million ballots cast. The latest numbers showed Franken, a Democrat, with a 225-vote lead over Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. But after the announcement, there will be a seven-day waiting period before an election certificate is completed. If any lawsuits are filed during that waiting period, certification is conditional until the issue is settled in court."

MN Supreme Court To Rule On Disputed Absentee Ballots

Posted Jan 05, 2009 at 12:57 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Minnesota Supreme Court will soon rule on the question of whether to let the final stage of ballot tallying proceed or to redesign the process once more: As state officials completed their count of 953 disputed absentee ballots Saturday, "the court is expected to decide soon whether to instead open the door to a new centralized review of about 2,000 such ballots, as requested by Sen. Norm Coleman -- or at least order the review of hundreds of additional ballots identified by the Coleman and Al Franken campaigns." If Coleman should loose this decision, PollTrack believes that Democratic challenger Al Franken will inch much closer to victory in the disputed (and long-winded) race, now in its third month of post-game wrangling. The contest, no doubt, would still be far from over as the Star Tribune notes: "If the court refuses the Coleman request... he would likely lose the recount and immediately move to legally contest the state Canvassing Board's certification of final results."

Minnesota Recount: Al Franken Now Leads By +225 Votes

Posted Jan 03, 2009 at 3:45 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Things are really looking up for Democratic challenger Al Franken in the US Senate recount in Minnesota. With the recount complete--and all outstanding absentee ballots tabulated--Franken has an unofficial lead of 225 votes over Republican incumbent Norm Coleman. Going into today's accounting of improperly discarded absentee ballots, Franken led unofficially by 49 votes. He gained a net 176 votes by Saturday evening. The Minneapolis Star Tribune observes:  "[Coleman's] term as a U.S. Senator ended at noon Washington time today, and by evening his hopes of winning a second term had been dealt an expected but serious setback as state officials counted previously rejected absentee ballots in St. Paul." The Republican's probable next step: the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Live Blogging On The Minneapolis Star Tribune Website

Posted Jan 03, 2009 at 9:07 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

For this of you who can't get enogh of the Minnesota US Senate Recount, the Minneapolis Star Tribune is blogging live, covering in meticulous detail the opening of 953 mistakenly rejected absentee ballots by the office of the Secretary of State that began morning in St. Paul. Click hear to follow the Live Blog.

Minnesota US Senate Recount: Franken (d) Lead Bumps Up To 49

Posted Jan 02, 2009 at 1:55 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Associated Press, Democratic challenger Al Franken's lead in the US Senate recount in Minnesota has officially bumped up to 49-votes over incumbent Reoublican Norm Coleman, after the Secretary of State's office updated its numbers Wednesday night.

Minnesota Recount: Rejected Absentee Ballots Likely To Determine Outcome

Posted Dec 30, 2008 at 1:58 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With only 46 votes (as of Monday afternoon) officially separating Democratic challenger (and leader) Al Franken from incumbent Repoublican Norm Coleman in the Minnesota US Senate runoff it could all come down to a little more than a thousand improperly rejected absentee ballots, writes the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The catch: Franken wants them all counted; Coleman does not. "In a letter sent Saturday morning to attorneys representing Sen. Norm Coleman, Franken campaign attorney David Lillehaug proposed accepting the list submitted Friday by county election managers, clearing the way for all the ballots to be opened and counted by next Sunday. " Coleman officials are hinting that they would prefer "a possibly contentious series of regional meetings throughout the state where counties and campaign representatives would have to resolve differences about which ballots to count." The never ending Minnesota recount continues with no clear path to victory for eith candidate.

Minnesota Recount: Republican Incumbent May Take Court Action

Posted Dec 29, 2008 at 4:05 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

As if the Minnesota US Senate recount has not delayed the outcome of the race for months, the campaign of Reoublican incumbent Norm Coleman threatens to take the matter to court in the wake of its lose in the Minnesota State Supreme Court. Politico reports that in response to the ruling, "the Coleman campaign signaled it will contest the final election results in court.   If that happens, the Senate race will continue to be disputed well into January and for perhaps even longer." Said Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak: “The decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court today virtually guarantees two things in this recount. One: it ensures that there will be an election contest because Minnesotans simply will not support an election as close as this being decided by some votes being counted twice . . . Two: this ensures that no certificate of election will be issued due to an election contest inevitably being filed, leaving Minnesota without two sitting United States Senators on January 6th."

Minnesota Recount: MN Supreme Court Rejects Coleman Petition

Posted Dec 28, 2008 at 5:23 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

More news in the never ending Minnesota US Senate recount between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken. The Minnesota Supreme Court late Wednesday rejected a bid by Sen. Norm Coleman to "force the state Canvassing Board to consider his campaign's claim that some votes in strongholds of Al Franken (D) were counted twice," according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. The order allows those disputed ballots to remain in the vote totals, at least for now. "We are deeply disappointed," said Coleman lawyer Fritz Knaak, declaring that the Supreme Court decision "virtually guarantees" that the election will be decided in a court contest and that Coleman's campaign is prepared to wage one. PollTrack believes that this decision may present an obstacle to Coleman. With current unofficial results giving Franken a 48-vote lead, and most ballots recounted, it may be difficlt for the Republican to make up the difference with just challenged absentee ballots remaining.

Minnesota Recount: Franken Lead At 48-Votes

Posted Dec 23, 2008 at 5:58 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Democrat Al Franken's lead in the Minnesota US Senate recount is down to 48-Votes. Still, Franken maintains the lead in the recount for the first time since Election Day: "Today, the state Canvassing Board is scheduled to award votes from thousands of challenges that each candidate had filed against his opponent's ballots but later withdrew. A draft list Monday by the secretary of state's staff about how those votes should be allocated showed Franken leading by 48 votes. At the end of last week, he was up by 251, the first time since the Nov. 4 election that he had an advantage." Stay tuned . . .

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Franken Now Takes The Lead at +251-Votes

Posted Dec 22, 2008 at 7:36 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Democratic challenger Al Franken now leads incumbent Repoublican Norm Coleman by +251--a reversal of fortune in the Minnesota US Senate recount. Yet, as the Star Tribune note, the recount is by no means over, because all of the withdrawn challenges have yet to be allocated. Once these allocations are made, Franken’s lead will undoubtedly shrink, but by how much is uncertain. PollTrack notes that for the first time since the election ended on 4 November, Franken has assumed the lead by more than a few votes. Who will come out on top is anyone's guess, but things are looking brighter for the Democrat.

Democrat Attorney: More Franken Challenges Being Upheld

Posted Dec 19, 2008 at 4:39 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

In an observation that could have major repercussions in the Minnesota US Senate recount, Democrat Al Franken's lead attorney Marc Elias told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that more of Democratic challenges were being upheld than than those of Republican incumbent senator Norm Coleman: "When the recount is over and all the votes that were legally cast are counted, Al Franken will have won this election and will be declared the winner." Elias went on to claim that the shift in momentum towards Franken had "panicked the Coleman team into going to court to try to stop the counting of improperly rejected absentee ballots and asking the Canvassing Board not to count 150 ballots the senator's campaign claim were duplicated." Elias concluded that the Coleman campaign is engaging in a systematic "to prevent all the votes from being counted, for one reason and one reason only -- which is that they know that they are lying and that if all the votes are counted, they will lose this election. Coleman attorney Fritz Knaak denied Elias's accusation: "Mr. Elias has cast aspersions on our intentions from the beginning ... I understand his need to do that. That is not the case."

 

Minnesota US Senate Recount: Democrat Franken Pulls Ahead By A Few

Posted Dec 19, 2008 at 3:53 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the New York Times, Democratic challenger Al Franken has pulled ahead of Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in the Minnesota US Senate recount, though it cations that the vote count was expected to remain in flux throughout the day: "Mr. Franken’s lead, which reached the high double-digits this morning, came as the board examined ballots challenged by Mr. Coleman’s team. But a spokesman for the Coleman campaign urged caution in putting too much stock in the temporary standings. 'While varying headlines and a flurry of different numbers will continue, we encourage everyone to just hang on until the process is finished,' said Coleman communications director Mark Drake. “When it is finished, Norm Coleman will still lead, and we believe, be re-elected to the United States Senate.'”

Democrat Franken Poised To Move Ahead, At Least Temporarily

Posted Dec 19, 2008 at 1:38 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Democrat Al Franken picked up several hundred votes at Thursday's state Canvassing Board meeting, all but erasing the narrow unofficial lead that Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has maintained for weeks in the Minnesota US Senate recount. The Democrat, according to the paper, "seemed poised to move ahead today, at least temporarily, as the board rules on more challenged ballots." By the end of Thursday, Coleman clung to a two-vote lead. But Franken's reversal of fortune is far from conclusive: "Franken's surge Thursday was no real surprise, given that the large majority of ballot challenges typically fail. On the previous two days, when the board examined challenges from the Franken campaign, most were rejected and Coleman made gains." PollTrack notes that thousands of challenges have yet to be evakuated by the canvassing board--votes that could radically effect the outcome in ways that cannot yet be determined.

Minnesota US Senate Recount: Has The Tide Turned Towards Democrat Franken?

Posted Dec 18, 2008 at 6:56 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to one blog, things may be looking up for challenger, Democrat Al Franken in his effort to defeat the Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in the US Senate recount in Minnesota: "At the end of yesterday's review, Coleman's pendulum has reached it's apex. With all Franken's challenged now resolved, we turn tot he over 1000 Coleman challenges. If those ballots break the same way as Franken's challenges, that would result in an almost 500 vote differential. This virtually assures a Franken lead by the end of this phase of the process. A process that has been open, transparent, and respectful of the rule of law. I ironically, on the STRIB ballot challenge page, once all ballots are reviewed, it shows Franken winning by as much as 275 votes." Given the complexity of the recount process, it's hard to say whether this reading is accurate. But Franken seems to have some momentum on his side according to several recent evaluations of the recount.

"Virtual Canvassing Board": Slight Edge To Franken In Challened Ballots

Posted Dec 16, 2008 at 4:18 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune decided to let the people decide the outcome of the endless Franken-Coleman US Senate recount in Minnesota. And it has concluded that Democrat Al Franken may have the edge when all challenged ballots are evaluated. By relying on a virtual "canvassing board" of more than 26,000 readers who examined at least some of them, the Star Tribune reports that "there appeared to be widespread consensus that Franken won slightly more disputes than Coleman, enough to theoretically erase the incumbent's narrow lead by late Monday . . . there is no assurance that partisans didn't distort the results. But large numbers of respondents from around the nation participated, and each of 15 respondents who viewed the largest number of disputed ballots gave Franken the edge by 3 to 5 percentage points. There was a broader consensus as well. Only 200 of the 6,500 ballots failed to draw a consensus from at least 75 percent of reviewers. Among the others, reviewers decided slightly more in favor of Franken." PollTrack must add hastility that these results are neither scientific nor skewed by the ferver of Franken partisans, thusthey appear a bit dubious. On the other hand, the Associated Press reports that its own analysis of challenged ballots would also appear to wipe out Coleman's 192-vote advantage. Stay tuned.

Minnesota Recount: Is A Franken (d) Victory Hidden in Challeged Ballots?

Posted Dec 16, 2008 at 1:12 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Associated Press reports in its analysis of the outstanding challenged ballots in the Minnesota US Senate recount that Al Franken could come out ahead after these votes are apportioned: the analysis of the 3,500 challenges remaining "found that nearly 300 wouldn't benefit either man because the voter clearly favored a third-party candidate or skipped the race . . . of the 3,500 challenged ballots that easily could be assigned, Franken netted 200 more votes than Coleman. But Coleman has withdrawn significantly fewer ballot challenges than Franken — that is, the pool of challenges that can now be awarded to Franken is larger, and both campaigns announced Sunday that they would withdraw more challenges" by this afternoon, Tuesday the 16th of December." Things could get very interesting in Minnesota.

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Absentee Ballots Offer Biggest Headache in Recount

Posted Dec 15, 2008 at 4:58 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune observes that it is the state's penchant for discarding absentee ballots that do not meet the letter of the law that has created the biggest stumbling block to completing the epic recount in the US Senate race between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and his Democratic challenger, former comedian and writer, Al Franken: "Before this year's U.S. Senate race in Minnesota, rejected absentee ballots were almost as little known. Now, they've emerged as the biggest flaw in Minnesota's election system and may hold the key to finally resolving the contest between Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and DFLer Al Franken. But here and nationwide, the rejection of absentee ballots -- either because voters improperly filled out documents or because election officials erroneously spiked them -- is a problem that's long been hiding in plain sight. 'For years, people know some part of the [elections] system isn't working, but it flies under the radar screen because it doesn't cause problems until you have a situation like Florida in 2000 or Minnesota now," said Edward Foley, an election law expert at Ohio State University's law school. "Suddenly, it becomes a huge problem. Rejected absentee ballots are the new hanging chad.'" Indeed, Minnesota Deputy Secretary of State Jim Gelbmann estimates that more than 13% of rejected absentee ballots in the Senate race -- a number that could be as high as 1,580 -- were improperly set aside. For more on the absentee ballot fiasco in Minnesota click here. 

 

Minnesota Recount: Democrat Franken Scores Victories

Posted Dec 15, 2008 at 2:17 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The endless Minnesota US Senate race recount saw a few rare victories for Democrat Al Franken on Friday. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the state Canvassing Board "approved the use of Election Day results for 133 Minneapolis ballots that can't be found and also recommended that counties sort and count absentee ballots that were mistakenly rejected. But the five-member board revealed some fissures. That came when its two Supreme Court justices put the brakes on the apparent hopes of its two district judges to declare in advance that the board would accept the new results that include the previously rejected absentee votes." These actions help Franken in his quest to overturn Republican incumbent Norm Coleman's 192-vote lead at the end of the official hand recount. It remains unclear, though, who might be favored in the ballots now approved for inclusion by the Minnesota state Canvassing Board.

Minnesota Recount: State Canvasing Board Meets Today

Posted Dec 12, 2008 at 1:27 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With today's meeting of Minnesota's state canvassing board resolve the Franken-Coleman recount. MSNBC reports that the board will attempt to decide the fate of hundreds of improperly rejected absentee ballots, as well as 133 missing ballots in a Minneapolis precinct. So today's meeting could have a demonstrative effect on the state's contentious recount.

Minnesota Recount: Franken Campaign Accuses State of "Voter Disenfranchisement"

Posted Dec 10, 2008 at 9:56 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to MSNBC, the Minnesota US Senate recount has a new set of accusations to ponder: the campaign of Democratic challenger Al Franken this afternoon has accused Minnesota election officials of "voter disenfranchisement." MSNBC reports:  "Franken spokesman Andy Barr showed reporters a video of voters whose ballots were thrown out due to technicalities, he said. Barr said some local elections officials made 'simple mistakes, human mistakes.' 'These are people, not abstractions,' attorney Mark Elias added. Meanwhile, Coleman campaign attorney Fritz Knaak sent a letter to the Elections Director of the City of Minneapolis stressing the weight he believes should be given to the hand-counted ballot."

Minnesota Recount: Coleman (r) Retracts 475 Challenged Ballots

Posted Dec 09, 2008 at 7:13 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

On the heels of Al Franken's retraction of ballots earlier challenged by his campaign, representatives of the campasign of Republican incumbent Norm Coleman have made a retraction offer of their own, withdrawing 475 challenged ballots, according to campaign attorney Fritz Knaack . . . "We've gotten a positive gesture from the Franken campaign," Knaack said, "and we want to respond in kind."

Minnesota Recount: Franken (d) Retracts More Challenges

Posted Dec 09, 2008 at 4:58 AM
Maurice Berger, PollTrack Poltical Director

With Republican Norm Coleman holding a 192-lead in the Minnesota US Senate recount, Democratic challeger Al Franken has decided to retract a number of ballots he had previously challenged. According to USA Today, "Franken is pulling back another 425 of the ballots he's challenging . . . bringing the total he's retracted to more than 1,000. His campaign challenged almost 3,300 ballots during the recount of 2.9 million ballots cast in the election, but last week he started canceling them by the hundreds. He's now repealed nearly one third . . . Coleman's campaign has announced it would give up 650 challenges, leaving him with 2,750."

Minnesota Recount: Envelop With Missing Ballots Found In Minneapolis

Posted Dec 08, 2008 at 7:11 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to The Uptake, election workers in Minneapolis Election Warehouse have found an envelope with less than 20 uncounted ballots.  The ballots may be from Minnesotans serving overseas in the US Military." Alas, the envelope does not contain the 133 ballots missing from Ward 3 Precinct 1. These ballots, in the Dinkytown area--including the University of Minnesota--may be helpful to Democratic challenger Al Franken, though probably not enough to overcome Coleman's lead.  The Minnesota Secretary of State "has ordered the recount on that precinct be held open so workers can search for those ballots."

Minnesota Recount: Republican Coleman Winning The Expectations Game

Posted Dec 08, 2008 at 1:39 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With three separate vote counts now virtually complete in the Minnesota US Senate race (save for a handful of precincts and a little more than a hundred missing ballots), Republican incumbent Norm Coleman can boast that he has won three times. He may be winning another count, this one possibly as important as the first three: the expectations game. A new Rasmussen survey reports that 67% of Minnesota voters now expect Coleman to beat Democrat Al Franken. Just 16% say Franken will win, while 17% are not sure. According to Rasmussen, the expectations quotient crosses party lines: "Even 54% of Minnesota Democrats believe Coleman will be the winner once the recount of the race is completed." PollTrack believes that this factor--combined with three cionsecutive leads for the Republican--makes the political environment (as well as the raw numbers) less hospitable to a Franken upset.

Minnesota Recount: Associated Press Projects A 192-Vote Lead For Coleman

Posted Dec 06, 2008 at 1:40 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Associated Press projects that Coleman, the Republican incumbent, holds a slight edge--of 192-vote--over Democrat Franken. The Associated Press arrived at the figure by "comparing Nov. 4 tallies and those from the recount in all the finished precincts, which excludes the one in Minneapolis, and applying the changes to Coleman's 215-vote lead in the initial vote count." The Ap qualifies their projection, however: "But that 192-vote lead doesn't account for more than 6,600 ballot challenges from the two campaigns. It's muddied further by legal squabbles over Franken's push to include some rejected absentee ballots in the final count."

Minnesota Recount: Hand Count Ends, Coleman Leads By 687 Votes

Posted Dec 05, 2008 at 10:57 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minnesota US Senate hand recount came to an end this afternoon, with Coleman taking an official lead of 687 votes. But as the New York Times notes, the race is not over: "Officials continued to search for 133 ballots missing from one Minneapolis precinct. With all except those ballots tallied from the state’s 87 counties, Senator Norm Coleman, the Republican incumbent, was leading Al Franken, the former comedian and a Democrat, by a margin of 687 votes, the secretary of state’s office said Friday afternoon. The race could easily shift later this month, though, once a state canvassing board begins examining some 5,300 ballots still in question — ballots for which either the Coleman or the Franken campaign has challenged the voter’s true intent." Still, PollTrack believes the dynamics of the three counts, all ending with Coleman in the lead, favor the Republican incumbent.

Minnesota Recount: Almost Complete With Little Change From Initial Tabulation

Posted Dec 05, 2008 at 4:02 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that with the first phase of the Minnesota US Senate recount nearly complete on Thursday, the results differ little from the initial count completed in the hours and days after the polls closed in the state on 4 November: "Yet at day's end, with 99 percent of the ballots counted, the gap separating Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken was only 36 votes larger than it had been at the start. Coleman now leads by 251, according to Star Tribune tabulations." Its unclear whether the 6,000 or so challenged ballots remaining can reverse Coleman's lead. At this point, with all three counts (initial, audit, and hand recount) seemingly going to the Republican, PollTrack believes the political (and numerical) environment continues to favor the Republican incumbent. Still, the count is not over: the state Canvassing Board will meet on Dec. 16 to begin reviewing the thousands of remaining ballot challenges from the two campaigns.

Minnesota Recount: Coleman's Lead Remains Stable

Posted Dec 04, 2008 at 4:30 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minnesota recount reports that Republican incumbent Norm Coleman is leading Al Franken by 316 votes, with 98% of the recount completed. About 6,000 challenged ballots remain. The campaign of challenger Al Franken contests this number, claiming that its internal count now has the Democrat leading by 22 votes. As MSNBC reports: "The difference here, as one of us pointed out a couple of days ago, is that the Franken camp is counting the challenged ballots (the way it thinks the independent analysts are counting them). But the Coleman campaign disputes the Franken numbers. The recount will be completed by the end of the week, and the state’s Canvassing Board will make the final call on the challenged ballots on December 16." Given the net gain made by Coleman yesterday of 36 votes, PollTrack believes that it is doubtful that Franken's internal numbers will hold. If the official recount ends with Coleman ahead, is is also doubtful that Franken can muster the kind of political support he will need--both statewide and nationally--to support reversing three consecutive wins for Coleman. The first count had the Republucan incumbent ahead; the statewide canvas had him in the lead; and a third win  now seems likely when the official recount numbers are reported on 16 December.

Franken's Good News Short Lived?

Posted Dec 03, 2008 at 11:27 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN), elections officials in Minneapolis "discovered that one precinct came up 133 ballots short of election day totals, resulting in a net loss for Democratic challenger Al Franken of 44 votes." Thus, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman's lead may have once again inched up well past +300 votes. The conditions in the Minnesota recount continue to favor the Republican incumbent.

Al Franken Gets Some Good News

Posted Dec 03, 2008 at 8:00 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Two pieces of good news for Democrat Al Franken as reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune: [1] he gained 37 votes in the recount after a cache of ballots was discovered jammed in a voting machine. Coleman continues to lead, however, by 303 votes, with 93% of the vote counted. [2] The day's other news, "which Franken's campaign quickly described as a 'breakthrough,' came when [Secretary of State Mark] Ritchie's office asked local election officials to examine an estimated 12,000 rejected absentee ballots and determine whether their rejection fell under one of four reasons for rejection defined in state law. The Secretary of State's office asked that ballots that were rejected for something other than the four legal reasons be placed into a so-called "fifth category."

Chambliss Victory: A Problem For Al Franken?

Posted Dec 03, 2008 at 4:26 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Is Republican Saxby Chambliss' decisive victory in yesterday's Georgia US Senate runoff a problem for Al Franken. The Hotline Blog seems to think so. In an interesting and perecptive analysis of the political implications of Al Franken's underdog status in the Minnesota recount, Hotline writes: "Sorry Jim Martin, but Al Franken might be the biggest loser tonight. How likely is it that Democratic senators will push for Franken -- or vote not to seat Sen. Norm Coleman should the MN race remain tight after a recount -- now that the filibuster-proof advantage has eluded the party? Such a move is a rare happening, but tonight's GA results seems to make an aggressive move on Franken's behalf less likely." With each step towards compleyion of the Minnesota recount, Franken's chances appear to diminish. Given Franken's hint that he might take the question of the validity of the Minnesota recount results to the US Senate itself (the Constitution provides that the House and Senate serve as “judge of qualifications and elections of its members”), ABC News wonders whether Senate Majority leader Harry Reid would even take up the challenge at this point: "Would Reid want to take such a politically explosive step if it wouldn’t even bring him 60 votes? Particularly when Republicans will control at least 41 votes in the new Senate -- enough to filibuster any such move, and effectively kill it?" the answer is probably no, especially after last night's results.

Minnesota Recount: Bad News For Franken (d) As Coleman (r) Lead Grows

Posted Dec 02, 2008 at 3:22 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman has increased his lead by more than 60 votes against Democratic challenger Al Franken in the Minnesota US Senate recount. With nearly all of the votes recounted, Coleman has a lead of +340 votes.

CQ Poltics: Coleman Has A Net Gain of 77 More Votes Since Recount Began

Posted Nov 27, 2008 at 2:12 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to CQ Politics, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman has actually increased his advantage over Democrat Al Franken since the Minnesota US Senate recount began on 19 November: "By close of business Wednesday [11/26], Coleman had gained a net total of 77 votes, according to the office of Minnesota’s secretary of state. With approximately 86 percent of the ballots recounted, Coleman now leads Franken by 292 votes, up from the 215-vote margin he held at the end of the initial count that began on election night."

Minnesota Recount: Franken (d) Trails Coleman (r) by 283 Votes

Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 9:39 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to MSNBC, Democrat challenger Al Franken trails Republican incumbent Norm Coleman by 283 votes at the end of the day. It appears that Coleman's lead is ticking upward over the past few days.

Courts May Decide Minnesota Senate Race

Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 7:56 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to CQ Politics, the Coleman-Franken recount may not be decided without judicial intervention: The Minnesota canvassing board today denied a request, "entered by attorneys for Franken, that it review absentee ballots rejected for technical reasons by local elections officials, and include in the candidates’ vote totals any ballots found to have been wrongly dismissed. The five-member board ruled unanimously that it does not have the authority to consider the legitimacy of absentee ballots, saying that is a matter for election judges or the courts to decide. This was essentially the position taken by Coleman’s campaign, which opposed the petition by the Franken camp to have the board take charge of the absentee ballots in question." 

Minnesota US Senate: Missing Ballots Present New Recount Problem

Posted Nov 26, 2008 at 2:01 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a new problem has erupted in the Minnesota US Senate recount: missing ballots. The paper reports: "The Franken campaign today said that it has learned of missing ballots totaling several hundred in various counties. Franken recount attorney Marc Elias said he's also bothered that counties that know they have missing ballots aren't bothering to look for them. Elias declined to identify those counties but acknowledged that the Franken campaign is monitoring reports of several dozen missing ballots in Becker County."

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Coleman Lead At 213 Votes

Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 9:51 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Coleman's actual lead after today recounting is 213 votes, bot the 84 votes reported earlier today by MSNBC. Stay Tuned.

Minnesota Recount: Republican Incumbent Coleman's Lead Narrows to 84 Votes?

Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 9:05 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

MSNBC/First Read reports that Republican incumbent Norman Coleman's advantage in the US Senate recount against Democratic challenger Al Franken has shrunk to 84 votes as of this afternoon. Stay tuned. (PollTrack has not yet confirmed this number.)

Franken (D-MN) Slipping In Democratic Strongholds

Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 6:59 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A report released today suggests that Democratic challenger Al Franken may be loosing ground in the Minnesota recount against Republican Norm Coleman on the very turf he expected to make up votes: in Democratic urban strongholds. Twin-Cities.com writes: "Are the piles of recounted ballots from red counties, where Republican Sen. Norm Colman might be expected to pick up a few stray votes? Or blue counties, where DFL challenger Al Franken might have the advantage? But Minneapolis — the biggest, bluest pile of all — is turning that logic on its head. With nearly half of its ballots recounted, the city Franken calls home isn't doing the candidate any favors. And that could be dimming Franken's hopes of catching Coleman before the state canvassing board meets Dec. 16. 'Things are clearly moving in the wrong direction for Franken,' said Larry Jacobs, director of the University of Minnesota's Center for the Study of Politics and Governance. (With slightly less than half of the ballots counted in Minneapolis, Franken has lost 86 votes, while Coleman has lost just 37.)

Minnesota Recount: Coleman (r) Picks Up A Few Votes In US Senate Race

Posted Nov 25, 2008 at 1:28 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

As ballot challenges surged to more than 3,000 on Monday, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman has picked up a bit of steam in the Minnesota US Senate recount. As the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: "More than 78% of the votes had been recounted as of Monday night, and Republican Sen. Norm Coleman's advantage over DFLer Al Franken stood at 210, according to a Star Tribune compilation of results reported to the secretary of state and gathered by the newspaper. Before the recount, Coleman led Franken by 215 votes out of about 2.9 million cast, a margin that has fluctuated over the past week."

Minnesota Senate Race May Come Down To Disputed Absentee Ballots

Posted Nov 24, 2008 at 1:19 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the tough fought MN Senate race could come down to disputed absentee ballots, and whether they are counted or not: "With Republican U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman clinging to a reed-thin lead over DFL challenger Al Franken -- 180 votes as of Saturday night -- the issue of how and when absentee ballots should be counted has election law experts everywhere closely tracking the Minnesota recount drama. In a race this tight, the difference could come down to clerical errors on absentee ballots or even a challenge of Minnesota's law governing such ballots. 'Campaigns over the years have challenged anything and everything," said recount expert Timothy Downs, principal author of "The Recount Primer' who has been involved in most major recounts over the years, including the biggest: Gore vs. Bush in 2000. Downs' co-author, Chris Sautter, hit the ground in Minneapolis last week as part of Franken's recount team." PollTrack notes that with an 180 vote lead--and most ballots now recounted--Coleman may be in a better position to hold onto his lead that Democrats believed earlier in the week.So the counting of discarded absentee ballots could substantially impact on the outcome. This race is a true nail biter. Stay tuned to PollTrack coverage of this and the other important outstanding US Senate race--the runoff in Georgia.

MN Senate: Coleman Lead Shrinks Even More

Posted Nov 22, 2008 at 2:38 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "With 64% of the 2.9 million ballots recounted, Coleman was ahead by 120 votes, down from 136 at the end of Thursday and from the unofficial lead of 215 signed off on Tuesday by the state Canvassing Board."

Coleman Lead Down By A Few More

Posted Nov 21, 2008 at 2:23 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Republican Norm Coleman's lead has dropped yet again in the Minnesota recount. With 46% of the 2.9 million ballots counted by last night, the gap between Coleman and Al Franken narrowed even more. Coleman's leads stands at just 136 votes, a drop from his a 215 vote advantage at the start of the recount.

Minnesota Senate Race: Final Results May Not Be Known Until The End Of The Year

Posted Nov 21, 2008 at 1:46 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, a final certified result for the US Senate race in Minnesota may not be available until the end of the year: "Recount officials will take up their task again today and every day until the votes are tabulated, with a full report expected by Dec. 5. The Canvassing Board is expected to make a decision on rejected absentee ballots early next week and rule on challenged ballots starting Dec. 16. While a court challenge could delay results further, Ritchie said he hopes to have an actual winner declared before the end of the year." And this appears to be optimistic.

Minnesota Senate Race: A Look At Challenged Ballots

Posted Nov 20, 2008 at 4:16 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Minnesota Senate Race: A Look At Challenged Ballots. Minnesota Public Radio has just posted on its website a series of challenged ballots in the Coleman-Franken recount. The problems with these ballots--some clearly indicative of voter intent, others not--are both varied, creative, and surprising. The article also allows you to vote on whether you believe a ballot is valid or not. To get a look at these ballots click here.

Minnesota Senate Race: Coleman (r) Drops 41 Votes In Recount So Far

Posted Nov 20, 2008 at 1:58 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

After the first day of Minnesota's US Senate race recount, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman (R-MN) lost a net of 41 votes and now holds a 174-vote advantage over challenger Al Franken (D). At the start of the recount, Coleman was up by 215 votes.

Minnesota Recount Begins Today

Posted Nov 19, 2008 at 2:06 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports: "Two weeks after the closest U.S. Senate election in Minnesota history, a massive hand recount of all 2.9 million votes gets underway today, with local officials working under the scrutiny of top lawyers brought in by both candidates." A final tally should be completed by mid-December.

Minnesota Senate Race: Franken (d) Files Brief

Posted Nov 18, 2008 at 1:54 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to MSNBC, the campaign of Alfranken "filed a brief with the Minnesota State Canvassing Board to learn why some absentee ballots were rejected and to determine if any of those rejections were improper. The campaign cited various reasons oversights might have occurred with absentee ballots, including human error and various technicalities." No doubt, much more to come on this one. The official statewide recount begins tomorrow, 19 November. Coleman now leads by a scant 215 votes.

Dartmouth Study: Franken Has Advantage In Minnesota Recount

Posted Nov 16, 2008 at 11:36 PM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

A statistical analysis by Dartmouth University suggests that Democratic challenger Al Franken has a decided advantage in the recount against Republican incumbent Norm Coleman in the 2008 Minnesota US Senate race: the "race in Minnesota . . .  is slated to be recounted starting on November 19, 2008, and a key issue in the recount will be the approximately 34 thousand residual votes associated with it. A Senate residual vote is, roughly speaking, the product of a ballot that lacks a recorded Senate vote, and in the Minnesota Senate race there is no doubt that the number of residual votes dwarfs the margin that separates Coleman from Franken. We show using a combination of precinct voting returns from the 2006 and 2008 General Elections that patterns in Senate race residual votes are consistent with, one, the presence of a large number of Democratic-leaning voters, in particular African-American voters, who appear to have deliberately skipped voting in the Coleman-Franken Senate contest and, two, the presence of a smaller number of Democratic leaning voters who almost certainly intended to cast a vote in the Senate race but for some reason did not do so. . . .  the data available suggest that the recount will uncover many of the former and that, of the latter, a majority will likely prove to be supportive of Franken."

Minnesota Post-Election Vote Audits Traditionally Show Great Fluctuation

Posted Nov 14, 2008 at 2:43 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to a CBS News affiliate in Minnesota, post-election audits of votes often show considerable fluctuation from election night totals. WCCO-TV writes: "It may look suspicious how much the U.S. Senate vote totals are going up and down, but it's really not that unusual. The night that Sen. Norm Coleman defeated former Vice President Walter Mondale in the 2002 U.S. Senate race he piled up more than 1,062,000 votes. But when all the ballots were certified two weeks later, Coleman had 54,000 more votes . . . Between election night voting numbers, and two weeks later when the State Canvassing Board certified official results, Coleman gained 54,429 votes. Mondale's vote total also went up 63,192 votes, but not enough to beat Coleman. It's what happens in Minnesota elections. We just don't pay attention when the race isn't close."

Minnesota Update: Republicans Charge Mischief

Posted Nov 13, 2008 at 12:51 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Minnesota Update: Republicans Charge Mischief. The Minnesota recount is getting ugly, even before it happens. Now state Republicans are accusing local Democratic counties and precincts of cooking the books in their post-election audit of votes. The Wall Street Journal reports: "When Minnesotans woke up last Wednesday, Republican Senator Norm Coleman led Mr. Franken by 725 votes. By that evening, he was ahead by only 477. As of yesterday, Mr. Coleman's margin stood at 206. This lopsided bleeding of Republican votes is passing strange considering that the official recount hasn't even begun. The vanishing Coleman vote came during a week in which election officials are obliged to double-check their initial results. Minnesota is required to do these audits, and it isn't unusual for officials to report that they transposed a number here or there. In a normal audit, these mistakes could be expected to cut both ways. Instead, nearly every "fix" has gone for Mr. Franken, in some cases under strange circumstances." With one county official reporting that she forgot absentee ballots "left in her car," things may get very contentious.  For more on Republican charges click here.

Coleman-Franken Post-Game: Now For The Pre-Count

Posted Nov 12, 2008 at 12:28 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Coleman-Franken Post-Game: Now For The Pre-Count. They take voting very seriously in civic-minded Minnesota. So with an election that separates two candidates by a little more than 200 votes out of 2.9 million cast, the state undertakes an audit in anticipation of a full-dress recount. The Minneapolis Star Tribune describes the process in one county: "Twenty men and women settled in along tables at the Ramsey County elections office first thing Monday morning and began plowing through more than 7,700 ballots cast last Tuesday in the U.S. Senate race. After nearly three hours of counting, Norm Coleman had lost exactly one net vote in five of the county's precincts. Al Franken had gained exactly one." This post-election audit is apt to find a few mistakes, but perhaps not that many: "After the 2006 election, the first time the audit was conducted, it reviewed votes in about 5 percent of the state's 4,123 precincts. Among 94,073 votes cast in the U.S. Senate race in those precincts, the audit found 53 discrepancies, an error rate of .00056.ll 87 Minnesota counties." while this doesn't sound like many votes, finding mistakes at this clip could possible reverse the outcome of the US Senate race or even add to Coleman's fragile lead. For the full article click here.

Minnesota: Coleman's Lead Drops to 204 From 221.

Posted Nov 10, 2008 at 5:59 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Republican US Senator Norm Coleman's lead over Democratic challenger Al Franken is now down to 204, from 221 on Friday. The Minnesota recount will be contentious no doubt.

Minnesota 2008: The New Florida 2000?

Posted Nov 10, 2008 at 1:53 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

Minnesota 2008: The New Florida 2000? With Norm Coleman holding on to a lead of a little over 200 votes--out of 2.4 million cast--will the recount in Minnesota turn out to be a remake of Florida in 2000. Unlikely, since the state of Minnesota uses a uniform optical scan system for its balloting (thus, no hanging chads to speak of). One of the accurate voting methods, optical scan technology, the Franken campaign is quick to point, can "skip" up to two votes out of every 1,000 counted. Play out the match, and suddenly an upset is possible in Minnesota, far more so than when Coleman lead by more than 700 votes the day after the polls closed. Things could also get ugly as they did in Florida. Of the narrowing of the space between the two challengers in recent days, "Mr. Coleman’s campaign is 'profoundly suspicious,' Fritz Knaak, his general counsel, said, because “we’re mystified at this apparent pattern of every time there seems to be a change, it happens after hours and it happens in the Franken favor.” The next few weeks in Minnesota are bound to get fascinating, if not contentious. For more coverage of the pending recount click here.

US Senate: One Recount, One Run-Off, And One Wait And See

Posted Nov 07, 2008 at 12:50 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The results of the three uncalled US Senate races may not be known for a while. In Georgia, Republican incumbent Saxby Chambliss failed to reach the 50% + 1-vote threshold and is headed for a run-off with his Democratic challenger. In Minnesota, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman hangs on to a 700-vote lead. Yhe race is headed for a run-off (but given the state's use of optical scan voting technology, one of the most accurate, Al Franken may not be able to make up the difference). And in the Alaska contest, Republican incumbent (and convicted felon) Ted Stevens hangs on to a small lead. The race awaits a full count and certification by the state.

US Senate: In Oregon, Merkley (D) Defeats Smith (R), Three Races TCTC

Posted Nov 06, 2008 at 1:24 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

The balance in the new US Senate as of this morning: 57-DEM, 40-REP, 3-TCTC. In a photo-finish in the US Senate race in Oregon, Democrat Jeff Merkley (D) has defeated Republican Gordon Smith. The race in Alaska leans towards recently convicted Republican Senator Ted Stevens in his race against Democratic challenger Mike Begich. (If Steven's resigns or is booted from the Senate, whic is likely, Governor Sarah Palin must order a special election to fill the vacant seat. The big question: Will Palin herself run for the job?) Saxby Chambliss, Republican incumbent in Georgia, may not reach the required 50% +1 vote to avoid a runoff. And Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota, holds onto a paper-thin 700 vote lead against challenger Al Franken. Coleman's lead, as tiny as it is, may be enough to keep him in the US Senate.

AP "Un-Calls" Minnsota Sentate Race

Posted Nov 05, 2008 at 3:40 AM
Maurice Berger, Political Director, PollTrack

With Republican US Senator Norm Coleman leading his Democratic challenger Al Franken by a little more than 500 votes in Minnesota, the Associated Press has just "Un-Called" the election for the Republican. Stay tuned for the recount.

Is Barkley Killing Franken In Minnesota?

Posted Oct 31, 2008 at 1:44 AM
PollTrack Election Watch

Is Barkley Killing Franken In Minnesota? A new poll of "likely votes" in Minnesota released yesterday by Mason-Dixon reports incumbent Republican Norm Coleman leading his opponent, Democrat Al Franken by six points, 42-36, with 12% of respondents favoring Independence Party candidate Dean Barkley. The state is not new to third party candidacies, electing independent Jessie Ventura governor a few cycles back. "If Coleman puts daylight between Franken’s numbers and his own on Election Day, he may have Barkley to thank," writes Mason-Dixon, "While he has shored up 89% of voters who identify as Republicans, with  only 4% defecting to Barkley’s camp, only about three out of four Democrats say that they support their party nominee, with 17% of Democratic voters favoring the Independence Party candidate over Franken." For more on this race and the "Third Party Effect" click here.