The recount team for former Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton expressed confidence at a news conference Friday that the DFL gubernatorial candidate would hold a substantial lead over GOP nominee Tom Emmer after the canvassing process and a hand recount.
They are encouraged by the results of the state’s canvassing process to date, which has only produced a 101-vote change for Emmer, Dayton attorney Charlie Nauen said. Dayton has a current lead of 8,755 votes.
Most of those votes came from an unknown error in Wadena County. The canvassing board has only Itasca County left in the process, after which a hand recount will likely begin. The Secretary of State’s office hopes to have a governor certified by Dec. 14.
Dayton’s team said Emmer and the Republican Party of Minnesota are trying to postpone Dayton’s succession.
“What they are trying to do is delay this as long as possible and damage his ability to govern,” Dayton recount head Ken Martin said. “It’s not a question of if Mark Dayton will be governor, it’s only at this point a question of when, and that question really rests with Tom Emmer and the Republican Party and how long they want to prolong this process.”
The Republican Party has ramped up its efforts, filing its first legal action of the recount process on Friday, and stacking up an impressive legal team that includes Washington lawyer Michael Toner and former Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson.
Dayton lawyer David Lillehaug said the GOP was using “delaying tactics and legal maneuvers” to keep Dayton from being seated so Gov. Tim Pawlenty can pass bills that are “rammed” through the newly Republican-controlled Legislature. “If they tried that it would be like hijacking state government,” he said.
In a recent interview with WCCO, Emmer said that was not their goal. “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,” he said. “So they can talk all they want, that’s not what we’re going to do.”