It appears the end of the road has come for Minnesota’s top ranking Democrat in Congress. At 4:30 AM With 98% of the vote counted, Jim Oberstar was trailing his Republican opponent Chip Cravaack by 4,228 votes. The unofficial 48.2% to 46.7% victory for Cravaack is outside of the one-half of one-percent margin needed to trigger an automatic recount. A few precincts in generally DFL Itasca, Atkin and St. Louis Counties have yet to report, making it possible to bring Oberstar into automatic recount range, but not likely enough for him to win.
Oberstar went to bed around 1:30 AM telling his staff that he was confident of victory even though he was trailing at the time. At that point, St. Louis County which includes the DFL stronghold of Duluth had yet to report most of its votes. Those votes came in heavily for Oberstar, but they were not enough to overcome votes for Cravaack from late-reporting Republican leaning counties.