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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

The Last Ad of the 2008 Campaign?

A new Democratic National Committeeradio ad in Minnesota asks listeners to call Norm Coleman to tell him "it’s time to concede" his long-fought race against Al Franken for the U.S. Senate, and  "to stop putting his political ambition ahead of what’s right for Minnesota." Earlier this week, a three-judge panel ruled in favor of Franken, giving him a 312-vote victory, but Coleman has said he will appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The narrator oversimplifies, though, when she says that "Franken won the election in November, he won the recount, and now he’s won the legal challenge filed by Norm Coleman." Franken didn’t win the election in November. The results were too close to officially call, triggering a mandatory recount. But, if anything, Coleman "won" as he was credited with more votes (215) on election day. It was only after the recounts began that Franken’s totals surpassed Coleman’s.

You wouldn’t know it to listen to the ad, but the election and recount procedure have been tortuously complicated, with various procedural rulings, appeals to canvassing boards and the like keeping lawyers for the two sides hopping. To read a full explanation of the recount we wrote up in late January, click here.