News & Election Videos

December 03, 2008

Franken camp: 'We're winning'

Al Franken’s campaign attorney Marc Elias said today that, based on its latest internal tally, Franken has taken the lead over Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) for the first time in the recount process.

In a conference call, Elias said Franken leads Coleman by 22 votes at the end of last night’s count.

“We are ahead by 22 votes at the close of business at the end of last night,” Elias said. “We continue to believe we will gain votes during the challenge and review process, and feel good generally where we stand in the recount.”

The official secretary of state count shows Coleman leading by Franken by 303 votes, with more than 6,000 ballots disputed by both camps. The Franken campaign has argued the number is misleading, given that none of the disputed ballots are included in that tally. The Franken tally assumes the challenges from both camps are invalid.

About 94 percent of the 2.9 million ballots have been recounted so far.

Franken's camp was greatly aided when Ramsey County officials found 171 ballots that went uncounted Election Night. That netted Franken 37 votes, and is currently larger than his current lead, according to Franken's count.

Elias also said the campaign will be withdrawing certain challenges to ballots “where appropriate” to expedite the process of sorting the disputed ballots, which will begin Dec. 16.

Coleman campaign manager Cullen Sheehan disputed the Franken numbers, and accused the Franken campaign of being "prepared to say and do anything to win an election that they lost on Election Night."

"Today, they’ve invented a story of a lead in the recount," said Sheehan. "We have confidence that on Friday the results of the recount will show Norm Coleman has emerged, again, as the winner of the 2008 United States Senate election.”