Given the steady drip, drip, drip of his failed ballot challenges and dead-end legal maneuvers since Election Day, it almost seems anticlimactic that Republican Tom Emmer has finally concluded that his race for governor is lost.
A lot of GOP insiders, and more than a few members of the party rank and file, have already said they've moved on. Finally, Emmer has too. And Mark Dayton will be our next governor.
Update: Video from Emmer and Dayton after the jump.[jump]
Wearing a suit coat over a white shirt with no necktie, Emmer sounded an upbeat and forward-looking tone as he talked to a frozen huddle of reporters gathered in the front yard of his Delano home this morning.
Surrounded by the family he portrayed during the race as the Brady Bunch, Emmer said that the 17 months of his campaign were "the best experience of our lives."
And he said that while there may have been an open door for a legal challenge to the results of the recount that has now ended, he wasn't going to walk through it.
Update: Emmer's legal eagles have engineered something weird. Eric Magnuson said today that his client waived his right for the state-funded and state-mandated recount. That means the recounted vote results, which are more accurate than Dayton's original vote tally, could be used in the officially recorded results. Secretary of State Mark Ritchie is none too happy about that.
Emmer said he congratulated Dayton by phone about a half-hour before the press conference, praised him a gentleman and urged Republicans to get behind the Democrat with, "The respect he deserves."
"Mark Dayton was not elected to be governor of Minnesota Democrats. He was elected to be the governor of the state of Minnesota," Emmer said. "We congratulate him and offer to help him in any way we can. Thank you again so much for being a part of this experience and being here today. Thanks for standing out in the cold. This is my kind of weather."
Dayton later echoed Emmer's call for unity.
"We were all elected by the people of Minnesota to serve all the people of Minnesota," Dayton said.
"You were elected on your platforms and principles; I was elected on mine," he said in comments aimed at the GOP-led legislature. "I believe the collective wisdom of the electorate is that they want part of what each of us offers, and they want us to work together to solve the state's budget crisis."
Watch Emmer, and Dayton, courtesy of TheUptake:
Dayton will be the first Democratic governor in Minnesota since Rudy Perpich was first elected in 1986. He'll face a a $6.2 billion state budget deficit. And he'll have to cope with that, and move his own agenda as best he can, with a newly Republican-controlled state Legislature.
Rightbloggers, naturally, are settling in for the fight. Mitch Berg had a particularly cheery post this morning on True North: Congratulations, Mark Dayton. Welcome To Hell.