A three county, three day recount has confirmed that Republicans will have a one vote majority in the Minnesota Senate when the session convenes in January.
Recount results that still need to be certified by the state canvassing board show that even with challenges, Republican Jerry Relph won out over Democrat Farmer Labor Party candidate Dan Wolgamott. The likely margin will be 141 votes, but that could change pending some challenges. However there are not enough ballot challenges in the three counties that recounted votes to change the result.
The original count showed Relph won over Wolgamott by 148 votes.
Despite the recount, Wolgamott isn’t conceding just yet. “As the attorney representing candidate Dan Wolgamott, I will be briefing him on the findings and outcomes of these counties’ recounts. I expect that my client will make a statement regarding what his intentions are by the end of this week,” said Brian Rice, Wolgamott’s attorney.
On Friday Wolgamott conceded after getting a “extensive briefing” on the recount.
“This morning I called Senator-Elect Relph and congratulated him on his victory in this hard-fought race. I thanked him for his graciousness through the recount process and sincerely wish him success in the State Senate,” Wolgamott said in a statement.
“I couldn’t be more grateful to the incredible volunteers and supporters that joined and lead our grassroots campaign. Despite this election not going the way we wanted, I remain hopeful for the future of Minnesota. I see the great promise of our state when I look at my two incredible daughters. I will continue to work to build a better community to leave to our children and look forward to what comes next,” Wolgamott said.
44 missing ballots found but will be challenged
Late on Tuesday 44 ballots were discovered missing from St. Cloud Ward 3 precinct 3. The ballots eventually turned up in a storage area. However, the Wolgamott campaign is challenging all of them because the box was not sealed.
Stearns County election official Dave Walz says the 44 ballots were in a separate box likely because they contained write-in votes for various races. Those ballots are counted by hand at the polling place. He says that box was likely the last item packed up at the polling place and whatever reason wasn’t sealed. Walz says that box was in the custody of election and county officials from the time it left the polling place until it was placed in a locked room that has limited access, no one can enter alone and people must sign in and out.
The Wolgamott campaign has challenged all 44 of those ballots. If they are tossed out by the state canvassing board, Wolgamott would cut into the Relph lead by four votes.
You can see Monday’s and Tuesday’s counting below and watch Wednesday’s counting at the top.
Because of technical issues, Tuesday afternoon’s video is not available. Tuesday morning’s video is below:
On Monday at the Benton County Government Center in Foley, election workers spent the morning recounting about 3,400 ballots. At the Sherburne County Government Center about 3,700 ballots were recounted in the afternoon.
Video from Monday’s counting and our live blog
Video below: recount in Sherburne county.
Video at bottom: recount in Benson county