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December 19, 2008

Franken takes lead in recount

As we reported last night, Al Franken’s campaign is optimistic about its chances of winning the recount.

And for the first time, Franken has taken the lead over Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) — currently by 78 votes. This wasn’t unexpected: Franken has been steadily gaining votes as the state’s Canvassing Board continues to rule on Coleman’s challenges.

The count doesn’t include the approximately 5,000 challenges that were withdrawn from both campaigns, which means the lead could still change hands. Franken withdrew about 400 more challenges than Coleman, and those aren’t reflected in the count.

But Franken’s campaign has had more success with its challenges so far, which is helping him in the recount. Coleman has only netted 24 votes from his 564 challenges (4 percent success rate), while Franken gained 68 votes from his 414 challenges (16 percent success rate).

ALSO: With the recount expected to last into next year, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) is looking into whether he will need to appoint a senator to temporarily fill the seat, according to CNN. The Senate swears in members of the upcoming Congress on Jan. 6, and the winner may not be determined by then.