WDAY: The News Leader

Published November 03, 2010, 03:54 PM

Not again! Recount looms in Minn. gov's race

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Minnesota's too-close-to-call governor's race was headed down an unpleasantly familiar road Wednesday, with both parties girding for months of battle certain to test the patience of voters still weary from the state's 2008 U.S. Senate recount.


The unsettled race between Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer stood to affect Minnesota politics even more directly than the Norm Coleman-Al Franken standoff that limited the state to just one senator for half a year. Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he would extend his term if a recount stretches into 2011, creating the potential for immense GOP power when a newly Republican-controlled Legislature returns early next year.

Dayton led in nearly final returns by about 9,000 votes out of 2.1 million cast, a margin that would trigger a recount unless the official canvass Nov. 23 widens his lead. Lawyers and political operatives, many familiar faces from the Senate recount, immediately began scrambling for advantage.

"It's like, oh my lord, not again," said Minneapolis resident Devin Clarkson, 28, a nonprofit case manager who backed Dayton. "It's disheartening, and I guess it shows Minnesota has become a really divided state in its politics."

Dayton said he saw himself as ahead but that it would be "presumptive" to declare victory. He said a recount shouldn't be political and that voters should expect it to wrap up by late November or early December — without drawn-out litigation.

"I don't think the people of Minnesota will stand for it. And they shouldn't," he said.

Emmer said in a statement he wanted to ensure "all valid votes are counted and the will of the voters is met."

Democrats pointed out that Dayton's lead was significantly larger than the margin that separated Franken and Coleman.