Minnesota Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Emmer is speaking out about the possibility of a legal contest keeping GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty in office past the end of his term. While Emmer is not ruling out a possible contesting of the election, should any issues come up during the recount, he also says in strong terms that he would not be a part of delaying a result for the sake of a GOP power grab.
In a one-on-one interview Thursday with WCCO-AM radio sportscaster Michele Tafoya (who disclosed on the air that she had made a donation to Emmer’s campaign), Emmer was asked about the scenario that has been much speculated about in the media — that the GOP might use a legal proceeding to stall Democratic nominee Mark Dayton from taking office, and allowing Pawlenty to pass legislation with the newly-elected Republican legislature.
“Well anybody who thinks that, that’s not gonna be what I’d ever be involved in, Michele,” said Emmer. “This is not about what I might want, or somebody else.”
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Tafoya asked again — what about what the GOP would want?
“Well again, I’m in charge. So ultimately it is my call,” said Emmer. “If it gets to the point where there are issues that need to be discussed, we’ll be very clear as to what those are.
“But I think that’s all premature. Anybody who would talk now about just using the process for delay or some other — I think that’s entirely improper, and I wouldn’t be part of it. So they can talk all they want, that’s not what we’re gonna do. Our goal in this process is to make sure the letter of the law is followed, and that the outcome is open, honest and transparent, and that when the Minnesota voter knows what the outcome is, he or she knows that their vote was counted.”
Dayton leads by about 9,000 votes in the current results, a percentage margin of 0.42%. Although this is within the 0.5% margin for a hand recount under state law, many observers think that this margin is too wide for a recount to change the outcome, barring the discovery of some enormous error during the recount. By contrast, the eight-month long Minnesota Senate recount and legal contest from the 2008 election resulted in a net margin shift of only about 500 votes.
Emmer has cited as a possible matter of examination in the recount a reporting error from Hennepin County (Minneapolis), when the county over-reported a few hundred thousand votes into the state’s figures on Election Night. The explanation for this has been that numerous precincts were double-counted into the state spreadsheets through human error, and the county has claimed that it was resolved.