The Republican Party has every right to pursue a recount in the governor's race, but it should also realize the kind of uphill battle it's facing and accept the fact that Tom Emmer needs to make up almost 9,000 votes. Everything's unofficial, of course, until the state canvassing board meets in a couple of weeks, but the GOP has to let go of what happened in the Al Franken/Norm Coleman saga of 2008 and stop comparing this year to then. GOP Chairman Tony Sutton has promised an aggressive fight, saying "We're not going to get rolled this time."
He also said "Something doesn't smell right," a reference to the Republicans' dethroning of an 18-term Democratic member of Congress and taking control of both houses of the Legislature, while not being able to retain the governor's seat.
Almost sounds like the GOP wants revenge for 2008.
After all the money spent on that recount and subsequent lawsuit, there was only a 787-vote shift. And it was drawn out for seven months.
Emmer's attorney said Monday the Republican gubernatorial nominee has no intention of waiving an automatic recount. Hennepin County, which makes up one-fifth of the statewide vote, certified its vote totals Monday and Emmer picked up six votes in a Plymouth precinct, so it looks as though a recount will take place. We're not begrudging Emmer a recount, but voters don't deserve to see this race linger like the one in 2008 did.
Strategically, the Dems fear, the GOP could try to draw this one out, too, and use it as an opportunity to keep current Gov. Tim Pawlenty in office to work hand-in-hand next year with the soon-to-be Republican-controlled Legislature -?Pawlenty has to stay in office until either Mark Dayton or Emmer is officially declared the winner. A Republican governor, along with a Republican-controlled Legislature, could work to pass their spending cuts and pursue their agenda before Dayton ever gets into office - too late, by the way, for the DFLer do anything about it.
The Democrats are worried about such a scenario, and given the anything-goes world of politics these days, we should all be concerned about it happening.
But we're hoping it won't. We're hoping that if the results of the recount don't significantly alter the outcome of the election, it will end there with the GOP congratulating Dayton so our lawmakers and our new governor can move on and take care of business in St. Paul in 2011.
The last thing this state needs is another 2008.