Franken Leads Minnesota Senate Race

| Fri Dec. 19, 2008 1:48 PM EST

FRANKEN LEADS MINNESOTA SENATE RACE....The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that, following a state Supreme Court ruling allowing the counting of contested ballots to go forward, Al Franken has opened up a large lead in Minnesota's senate race:

The intense scrutiny of "voter intent" resumed this morning by the five-member board charged with directing Minnesota's recount in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Norm Coleman and Democratic rival Al Franken, and the first 90 minutes of ballot rulings turned the challenger's slight deficit into a growing triple-digit lead.

....On Thursday, the board reviewed Coleman's challenges of hundreds of Election Day ballots, and the day's work saw the unofficial margin between the candidates dwindle to within a handful of votes. Then, as the board took up and rejected more Coleman challenges today, Franken pulled ahead in the opening minutes and steadily built his advantage beyond 150 within the first two hours.

Granted, a couple hundred votes isn't usually considered a "large lead" in a senate race. But in this contest, that's about as large as it gets. Nate Silver projects that Franken's lead will grow to 430 after all the challenged ballots are counted, then shrink to about 40 after withdrawn challenges are processed. Shall we just start calling him "Landslide Al" now?

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