The Republicans couldn't beat Al Franken in the 2008 U.S. Senate election that stretched into the 2009 recount, and they've been after Secretary of State Mark Ritchie ever since.
He ran a biased and incompetent recount, they insisted. He gave us "felons for Franken" voting against Norm Coleman.
But the Democrat won another term last night anyway with a 49-45 percent victory over Republican Dan Severson. His reward? He may get to run another recount.[jump]
Just to make sure everyone gets off on the right foot, Minnesota GOP chairman Tony Sutton set the tone on Fox9.
"The secretary of state (DFL Mark Ritchie) should be reamed for the job he's done voting machine failures, ballots not secured, tabulation mistakes. They had two years to correct it after that recount --and still it's worse than ever."
In another widely reported quote, he said: "It looks like it's recount part II: And this time it's personal."
Then he let go another round of carpet bombing at a morning news conference, starting with a Hennepin County fumble that, for about an hour, temporarily caused a 60,000-vote advantage for Dayton.
"Quite frankly, it's a disgrace that this election process, since 2008, we've had two years, essentially, to fix this election process in Minnesota," Sutton said. "And instead, here we are again today with questions about the process, questions about how the votes are reported last night. We have spent tens of millions of dollars as a state investing in technology in voting machines, investing in these processes. And yet here we stand again today."
He said he smelled a rat: "Something doesn't smell right when you take control of the state House, you take control of the state Senate, we win Congressional districts, folks, and yet somehow, somehow, we don't win the governor's race."
And then, just for good measure, Sutton accused Ritchie of being an "ACORN activist."
Ritchie, meanwhile, has adopted a more level-headed approach, handling the complaints as they come in, and telling reporters, "We in our office are planning to have fun with this recount this time around."
Watch his press conference this morning:
Sutton's bombast aside, the lead that Dayton currently has over Emmer -- about 9,900 as of 10 a.m. -- is far larger numerically than the few hundred vote edge Coleman first held over Franken in 2008. Emmer has a lot of ground to make up.