A recount that begins Monday will determine who will control the Minnesota Senate. It will span three counties and will take two or more days to complete. Republican Jerry Relph won his race with Democratic Farmer Labor Party candidate Dan Wolgamott by 148 votes. The margin is close enough that the state is paying for the recount. The party that wins the seat will have a one-vote majority in the Senate.
Senate District 14 is made up of three counties that intersect in St. Cloud, so the recount will be held in three separate locations — because the individual counties oversee the recount. The UpTake plans to livestream video from all three locations but is still fundraising to cover the costs of doing so.
The recounting begins at 9 a.m. at the Benton County Government Center in Foley, Minnesota. Election workers will spend the morning recounting about 3,400 ballots. At 1 p.m., the recount moves to the Sherburne County Government Center where about 3,700 ballots will be recounted. At 9 a.m. Tuesday, the recount will move to downtown St. Cloud at the Stearns County Court Administration building. Any ballots that weren’t processed on Monday in Benton and Sherburne County will be recounted at the St. Cloud location. The count in St. Cloud will likely take more than one day, because there are nearly 30,000 ballots to count.
Wolgamott says he’s done the math, and the 148-vote margin works out to 4 votes per precinct. While the state is paying for the recount, his campaign still has to pay for legal and other expenses. He says the DFL Senate Caucus is helping him pay for some of those costs. Campaign donations are also helping him cover the expense.
Relph says he’s “concerned” that there has to be a recount, but is “reasonably comfortable” that he’ll win. He says a recount will let everybody know for sure that the vote totals are correct.
Vote totals and map of recount locations
Blue locations are for Monday, December 5. The green location is for Tuesday, December 6.