The recount in the Minnesota U.S. Senate election is almost over. But the legal challenges mean there will be no official winner for awhile longer. Right now, incumbent Republican Norm Coleman leads Democratic challenger Al Franken by 251 votes with several thousand contested ballots awaiting review.

The state canvassing board will convene on December 16th to begin sorting through the challenged ballots. After that, there is still the possibility of a court case. I’m sure the people of Minnesota are thrilled.

While 251 votes is a tiny margin when you consider 2.4 million voters cast ballots, it’s still hard to envision Franken winning enough challenges to take the lead. Hopefully, once the canvassing board finishes their work, Franken will concede. Then again, he is, by all accounts, a rather obstinate fellow. He may choose to drag this thing out well into next year.

But I think Franken needs to be careful about perception. He performed well enough to make himself a viable candidate in future elections. He hardly wants to leave the impression that he’s a sore loser or more concerned with personal power than he is with democracy. My bet is he fights as hard as he can through the ballot challenges and then gives one of those concession speeches that everyone will praise as being “statesmanlike.”

We’ll see.

Politics Minnesota Recount Keeps Going…and Going…