Mark Dayton's lead is still insurmountable

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Mark Dayton wins again, but the contest isn't over yet.
Every county in the state has completed its recount in the governor's race, and the result is the same as the day after Election Day: Democrat Mark Dayton has an insurmountable lead over Republican Tom Emmer.

The Secretary of State's office reported on Friday night that, with 99.9 percent of the actual ballots counted, Dayton won 919,148 votes, or 43.29 percent of those cast. Emmer won 910,433, or 42.88 percent. That gives Dayton a margin of 8,715 votes.

This was all good enough for CNN to declare Dayton our next governor:

Democrat Mark Dayton has won his bid to become Minnesota's next governor, defeating Republican state legislator Tom Emmer after a recount, according to updated vote results released Friday by the Minnesota Secretary of State.

But here in Minnesota we know better. Recounts create their own reality.

Dayton's lead is insurmountable lead in numbers, even if you take into account the 765 legitimate ballot challenges that Emmer has filed, along with his almost 3,000 frivolous challenges. And Emmer has promised not to bring frivolous challenges before the State Canvassing Board.

But what might count as frivolous? Perhaps this challenged ballot from Faribault County:

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Secretary of State
A challenged ballot. Lacking perfection, evidently.
And here's a ballot that poses a legitimate challenge, from Blue Earth County:

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Secretary of State
The next step in the official process will be a Dec. 8-10 meeting of the State Canvassing Board to review the legitimately challenged ballots. The Secretary of State's office still plans to end the recount and certify the results on Dec. 14, and a new governor is slated to be sworn in Jan. 3.

Still, while the math appears to be on Dayton's side, Emmer said yesterday he had no intention yet of conceding the race.

AP reported yesterday that a number of influential Minnesota Republicans -- former congressman and current lobbyist Vin Weber, the Minnesota Business Partnership's Charlie Weaver, and Rep. Marty Seifert -- have suggested that Emmer call it quits soon, unless some unforeseen, robust legal issue arrises.

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