The Morning After

Good Morning America!

Well, after I went to bed last night, the Minnesota Senate Race between Al Franken and Norm Coleman tightened up. The Associated Press is reporting, I hear, that Coleman has won. They are wrong.

The difference between the two candidates is now (at 6:30 AM) just over 1,000 votes. Here in Minnesota, we are pretty sane and strightforward about our election process. Sensible scanning bubble sheets, lots of polling places, short lines, and an automatic recount law (one half percent different requires recount). There will now be a special recount of this race, and that will take close to two weeks to complete (if I’m hearing things correctly) . The Franken camp is hopeful because they think that missing or under counted from the count are some Democratic precincts up near Duluth.

The actual count:

Franken 1,209,983
Coleman 1,210,740

In the broader picture, the Senate has 56 in the Democratic caucus, and 40 in the Republican caucus, with four up for grabs.

The turnout in Minnesota was 77.5 %, second only to the record high of 1956, and no significant problems were reported with voting here.

In the national race, we still do not have results form Missouri and North Carolina.

I am hearing comentators droning on and on about the shift in racial attitude that the national election indicates. Well, true. But what might be more important is the need for a shift in the nature of the racial dialog among the mainstream press. I will be thinking, and writing, about this.

Finally, you might be wondering why Michele Bachmann won last night. The reason is that the voters in her district like her. Why? Well, the people of the Sixth District and Michele Bachmann are actually pretty well matched.

In case you have not seen them, these posts may provide some context: The Battle for Bachmann’s Seat and Michele Bachmann: Punished like the four year old she is.

Apparently Prop 8 in California has been passed. California, WTF????

I’m very sad about Madia losing to Paulson. Paulson is right now on the TV talking about what a nice and civil guy he is. Well, now we can add delusional liar to racist selfish pig. He ran a very dirty campaign. I’m very disappointed with the people fo the Third District. Myself included.

Oh, and Sarah Palin vaporized last night, right? That’s the last of her, yes? Yes?

UPDATE: Our local TV news station, WCCO, is calling the race for Coleman despite the fact that there will be a recount. They are scrolling “Coleman” as “Winner” but when their mouths move and words come out, they are saying that there will be a recount. At first, I thought that this was a mistake …. indeed, as the reporters were telling us (on WCCO) that “even tough AP is reporting Coleman as winner … this is wrong, there will be a recount” (paraphrased).

So I called them. The newsroom person I talked to made clear the following: 1) Coleman has won, officially, and 2) no one on their show has said that the AP is wrong.

Then she hung up on me. And I was being nice. Up to a point.

The national news is reporting that the Minnesota race is “undecided.”

Bottom line: Don’t trust news results from.


  1. #1 Charles
    November 5, 2008

    We haven’t seen the last of Palin. Looks like Stevens kept his Senate seat, and then there’s a reasonable chance that he’ll be expelled from the Senate in January, and then a reasonable chance that Palin will be taking his place. That and Prop 8 have brought me down from the high of presidential victory.

  2. #2 Stephanie Z
    November 5, 2008

    I’m very sorry about Madia. Much more sorry than about Tinklenburg, when it comes down to it.

    And you’d think someone at WCCO would know that the AP does not certify election results.

  3. #3 lynn fellman
    November 5, 2008

    I will look forward to your comments and updates, Greg. The response you received from WCCO is typical of our media today partisan and one dimensional. That’s why so many people look to the developing blog society for insights and thoughtful analysis.

  4. #4 Greg Laden
    November 5, 2008

    What is happening here (like, if Palin goes to the Senate, and with Bachmann re-elected, etc.) is that the Republican Party (especially it’s right wing-fundy sect) is becoming more and more clown like and the left wing and left/center is coalescing and cooperating and growing in size.

    The word “side show” comes to mind.

    Stephanie, I’m not sure … I think Paulson is the kind of guy who could get re-elected again and again in the third district…. this seat will be Republican forever, so the Twin Cities can say good bye to sensible development plans, public transit, etc. etc. I think if I had to pick Madia vs. Tinklenberg, I’d pick Madia. Tinklenberg is an anto-choice religious conservative democrat. Madia is socially liberal, fiscally conservative.

    Even though her district put her back in, Bachmann is a hot potato now. She has as little power as a second term congressperson can have.

  5. #5 Stephanie Z
    November 5, 2008

    Um, Greg, I think we’re saying the same thing.

  6. #6 Greg Laden
    November 5, 2008

    Oh. Than. Didn’t see that. Sorry.

    But one could make the argument either way, so I thought what I thought you were saying would be something I would not think was not well thought out.

  7. #7 Stephanie Z
    November 5, 2008

    Nah. Bachmann is just not that competent, when it comes right down to it. Paulson is much more effective, which is scary. I gave much more to Madia’s campaign than Tinklenburg’s.

    Speaking of things where we disagreed without major disagreement, congratulations on the sales tax amendment. I am not unhappy.

  8. #8 NoAstronomer
    November 5, 2008

    Whatever happens with Steven’s seat we’ve not seen the last of Sarah Palin. Over the next year I would expect a major battle for control within the republican party: right-wing christians vs regular conservatives. Palin will be the standard bearer for the christians and she’s charismatic enough to possibly lead them to victory.

    I predict an interesting four year ahead of us.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    November 5, 2008

    Palin will evaporate.

  10. #10 Salad Is Slaughter
    November 5, 2008

    What happened in California with Prop 8? Remember, we do have a Republican governor. Contrary to popular perception California only has pockets of liberalism. Most of the state is rural. A large percentage of the population is Hispanic and Catholic. From what Ive read Prop 8 failed in San Francisco and here in Silicon Valley but passed easily out in the jesusland parts of the state.

    I’m disappointed since I voted for the biblical definition of marriage (multiple wives and concubines as desired) and against Prop 8. But I’m sure that there will be another proposition on the ballot for the next election.

  11. #11 Joel
    November 5, 2008

    Apparently Prop 8 in California has been passed. California, WTF????

    Like Barack Obama, too many people personally disagree with equal rights for Gay men and women. Ironic, it’s kinda like supporting equal rights for race, but personally disagreeing with it.

  12. #12 Stephanie Z
    November 5, 2008

    True, Joel, but it’s always worth taking the time to say “WTF?” Some things never get to pass without comment.

  13. #13 Greg Laden
    November 5, 2008

    I think this will be settled ultimately in the courts.

  14. #14 Doug Alder
    November 5, 2008

    Greg – just checked CNN and their results updated 2 minutes ago show

    Coleman 1,211,593 42%
    Franken 1,210,899 42%

    That’s only a 594 vote difference – definitely recount territory

  15. #15 Doug Alder
    November 5, 2008

    er… math challenged – 694 votes 🙂

  16. #16 jj
    November 5, 2008

    RE: Prop 8
    They are actually still calling this “too close to call”, although it does look like it will pass, with some 95% in and 52 to 48 yes. Sad day in California, really thought we were above this by now. I did my part, though.

  17. #17 jj
    November 5, 2008

    Also RE: Prop 8
    One reason why it is still too close to call – there are only two main counties with substantial votes out – Riverside (54% in) and San Bernardino (70% in), two usually progressive counties – only I have noticed that the correlation with liberalism and no on prop 8 isn’t as strong as one would think

  18. #18 carr2d2
    November 6, 2008

    i live in the 6th district. and no, michelle bachman does not represent me (in fact, on mpr’s select a candidate widget, we matched on zero points). yes, this is a fairly conservative district, but remember, she did not get a majority, and in fact only won by 3 percentage points. which is actually quite surprising considering the presidential results in the district’s counties, some of which (specifically my county: wright) had mccain as many as 9 points over obama.

    bachman has alienated a lot of people, including conservatives. if she keeps up to the same crap, i think it’s safe to say we won’t be seeing too much more of her.

  19. #19 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2008


    No, it is not safe to say it! It is only safe to do it! We have to work on this over the next two years. The people of the sixth district who do not want to be represented by Bachmann have to come up to the plant. For the immediate future, this means selecting a candidate for the DFL to run.

    People such as yourself who want to replace Bachmann with a Democrat who better represents the district (and, with a growing Democratic majority in the house that is not going to go away for a while, want the district to have a more powerful voice at the table in DC) need to go to the party now and join up, become part of the process.

    If you are interested in working on this, contact Nancy Schumacher at

    Over the next few weeks, I’ll put more information on this blog about the sixth district and he DFL. These elections come every two years. The only way to replace a member of congress is to start the process the day after election. We are already running behind schedule.

  20. #20 Minnesota Central
    November 6, 2008

    The Change that is coming is Redistricting.

    While the nation laughs at Minnesota for electing a wrestler as Governor and almost (or maybe) electing a comedian to the US Senate, the real embarrassment is Congresswoman Bachmann and the people that supported her in 2008. [NOTE : I voted for Ventura and Franken.]

    The 2006 election was depicted as a clear choice between a hardcore Christian Conservative (with no compassion) and an ultra-liberal.
    I will give the voters a pass on 2006, but they have had two years to watch Bachmann inaction and yet voted for her again. Her roll call votes sets her in a small minority in Congress that vote outside of even the Republican mainstream.
    I wonder how many Bachmann voters voted for Coleman ? They were on opposite sides of SCHIP, the bailout, GI bill, ANWR, climate change, but agreed on Guns and God.

    Here is the scary thing is that the House Ways and Means Committee (you can debate which is the most powerful W&M or Appropriations) and there are a number of openings on the Republican side (including the Ramstad seat). Will tax-attorney Bachmann get a slot ? How about pork-free diet Kline?

    I was extremely impressed with Madia and thought he won every debate that I heard. But I was extremely disappointed in the DCCC television commercials against Paulsen. My gut tells me that going negative hurt Madia. Also, I believe the DCCC wasted money going after the Third District when it should have sent money to Sarvi in the Second.

    2010 will bring a new census with Minnesota losing one seat. In 2012, there will be redistribution and potentially two incumbents facing off. I can see a Walz-v-Kline race and feel comfortable that Walz would prevail. But if the district that gets ripped up is Peterson, he may retire ? leaving Bachmann and Paulsen with an opening depending upon how the revised districts are drawn. Or will Bachmann see the potential problem and opt to run for Governor ?

    On Franken, is it not clear that his problem was that he did not get enough Democrats to support him ? Coleman will be powerless in the Senate as the Farm Bill is done and his views are outside of the rest of the Foreign Relations Committee. Although I am still concerned with the rules of the Senate that allow for Holds and Filibusters, I believe the next Senate will be more bi-partisan. The 2008 elections put a number of Senators, like Norm Coleman, in a position of trying to work with the Democrats and the 2010 class looks like the Republicans will be in a similar position. Of the seats up for election, 19 are held by Republicans and 15 by Democrats. Of the Democrat seats, none may be lost while Arizona (McCain), Iowa (Grassley), Kentucky (Bunning), Louisiana (Vitter), and Ohio (Voinovich) could have challenges. Of those, McCain, Grassley and Voinovich are most likely to join Maine?s Senators Collins and Snowe on select issues (job creation, climate change, etc.)

  21. #21 Greg Laden
    November 6, 2008

    Well, with Coleman in, the Senate will definitely be more bi, but I’m not sure about Partisan.

    Franken is not a comedian. He’s a satirist.