Mark Dayton vs. Tom Emmer: Now what?

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Photo: Wkipedia
Dayton vs. Emmer: Shades of 2008?
With all precincts reporting, here's where we stand: Democrat Mark Dayton has 919,238 votes compared to Republican Tom Emmer's 910,382 votes.

That's 8,856 votes, or a 43.63-43.21 percent margin of victory. And it's within the one half of one percentage point margin that state law automatically allows for a recount.

Now what?

As a routine matter, county election officials are now double-checking their tallies. They will meet to certify county results Nov. 5 through Nov. 12.

Using the 2008 Coleman-Franken U.S. Senate race as a guidepost, you should expect the vote tallies to change, one way or another, between now and then.

The State Canvassing Board will convene Nov. 23. Here's who is on the board: Secretary of State Mark Ritchie; Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice Paul H. Anderson; Minnesota Supreme Court Associate Justice David R. Stras; Assistant Chief Judge Denise Reilly, Fourth Judicial District; and Judge Gregg E. Johnson, Second Judicial District.

If the results remain within the one half of 1 percent margin, a hand recount is triggered, with representatives of each camp allowed to challenge ballots.

When that process is complete, perhaps before Gov. Tim Pawlenty's term in office officially expires Jan. 3, the canvassing board certifies the results, the secretary of state signs off on the deal, and it's over -- or not. Legal challenges can be filed, and the court process could then drag on for months.

Tim Pawlenty, pointing to state law, said that he'll remain at his post until a new governor is sworn in.

That raises two interesting questions. First, will the now GOP-controlled Legislature try to push through bills it believes Pawlenty will sign? And, what happens to Pawlenty's expected decision about a White House run?

The unofficial results in the governor's race:

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Secretary of State

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