Six days after the election, no winner has been declared in the race for governor of Minnesota, even though the Democratic candidate, Mark Dayton, was leading his Republican opponent, Tom Emmer, by 8,751 votes on Monday.
Under Minnesota law, an automatic recount must be conducted at public expense if the margin of victory is less than a half of one percentage point, or in this case about 10,500 votes, according to The Associated Press. But a trailing candidate can choose to waive the recount. About 2.1 million ballots were cast in the election.
Emmer's attorney, Tony Trimble, was asked Monday if the candidate was giving any thought to waiving the recount. "None whatsoever," was Trimble's reply.
As if to underscore that point, Emmer had a private 45-minute meeting on Monday with the outgoing Republican governor, Tim Pawlenty, to discuss a possible transition. Dayton, who announced the members of his transition team on Monday, has a similar meeting with Pawlenty scheduled for Tuesday.
A recount of 2.1 million ballots is scheduled to be completed by by mid-December, the AP said. But even then a candidate can sue to contest the election, delaying the outcome for weeks or months. That could open the possibility of Pawlenty, who has hinted at presidential aspirations, staying in office beyond the end of his term.
Minnesota is no stranger to post-Election Day disputes over results. In 2008, the senatorial race between Al Franken, a Democrat, and Norm Coleman, an incumbent Republican, went to a recount with stops in the courts. Franken was ultimately declared the winner two months after the election.