MINNEAPOLIS – Republican Norm Coleman outlasted Democrat Al Franken in one of Minnesota's tightest Senate elections ever, squeaking past the former comedian early Wednesday by a margin that appeared certain to trigger a recount.
With 4,129 of 4,130 precincts reporting, Coleman led Franken by 762 votes out of nearly 2.9 million cast. Coleman had 1,210,790 votes, or 42.03 percent, to Franken's 1,210,028 votes, or 42 percent.
Dean Barkley of the Independence Party was third with 15 percent, and exit poll data showed him pulling about equally from Coleman and Franken.
The margin was well within a threshold set by state law for an automatic recount. If it holds up, Coleman would be among the fortunate Republicans who survived big gains by Democrats nationwide...more
The StarTribune has the later news that, "With 100 percent of the 4,130 precincts reporting, Coleman had an unofficial margin of 601 votes out of nearly 2.9 million cast." The recount is expected to take several weeks, perhaps extending into December.
8 PM Update: The margin is less than 500 votes.