Newspaper article

Politicos Ready for Potential Recounts, Given Minnesota's Recent History

Newspaper article

Politicos Ready for Potential Recounts, Given Minnesota's Recent History

Article excerpt

If there's one thing Minnesota knows, it's election recounts, after living through the 2008 Franken-Coleman Senate race marathon and 2010's shorter Dayton-Emmer recount in the governor's race.

Nationally, this cycle, both campaigns are preparing for possible recounts in battleground states that could determine the presidency, according to Politico.

That means recruiting lawyers.

"They are all bracing for Florida in 2000 -- everyone wants to be in position so as not to be disadvantaged by a court decision in a tie," Steve Schmidt, who ran John McCain's 2008 campaign, told Politico. "This [is] a preventive strategy. They are largely in search of problems that don't yet exist. It's like the Cold War and nuclear capability. You want to have what the other guy has."

In Minnesota, with its 10 electoral votes up for grabs and two controversial constitutional amendments on the ballot, many of the players have lawyered up, too.

Ken Martin, chairman of the DFL, said attorneys are currently working to catalogue information to prepare for any potential recount here but wouldn't address specific examples. The party itself has hundreds of lawyers across the state, he said, to help with election integrity efforts at the polls.

The Obama campaign has retained David Lillehaug, a prominent DFL attorney who worked on Minnesota's last two recounts, Martin said. Iin the case of a recount in Minnesota's presidential race, Lillehaug would take direction from Obama campaign attorney Bob Bauer and the Democratic National Committee, Martin said.

"Some of the best lawyers in the state are on retainer just in case, and that's clearly what's happened here," he said. "I think Obama is going to win this state, but if it [a recount] does happen, we're certainly not going to get caught flatfooted. We'll be prepared."

Jeff Blodgett, who is running Obama's campaign here, said Bauer likely hasn't spent much time thinking about Minnesota so far.

Kelly Fenton, deputy chair of the Minnesota GOP, declined to comment on who state Republicans have retained. Romney doesn't have a campaign organization here, but the state party has established its own ground game for the candidate.

GOP Chair Pat Shortridge told KARE 11 that his party "has more election judges and poll watchers than ever before."

The closest congressional race is expected to be the 8th District contest between GOP incumbent Chip Cravaack and former Democratic Congressman Rick Nolan. …

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