The Minnesota gubernatorial race is expected to come to an end today, five weeks plus one day after Election Day, with Republican state Rep. Tom EmmerÂ reportedly to concede defeat to Democratic former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton.
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The news was first reported by KSTP, the local ABC affiliate in the Twin Cities area, and has also been confirmed by the Star Tribune. Emmer has an announcement scheduled for 10:30 a.m. CT. This election follows the disputed Minnesota Senate race from the 2008 cycle, which lasted for eight months of counting and litigation -- but this current race always seemed likely to take much less time, because even its close margin of about 9,000 votes was far wider than the Senate race that came down to just a couple hundred votes.
Going into the recount, Dayton led by 8,770 votes, or 0.42%. While this was within the 0.5% needed to trigger a statewide recount, many observers doubted from the start that Emmer could have pulled ahead -- including Fritz Knaak, a former lawyer for Norm Coleman. By comparison, the 2008 Senate recount and litigation resulted in a net change in the margins of only a few hundred votes. However, a possible drawn-out legal contest could have resulted in Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty staying in office in the interim, with the opportunity to work with a newly elected Republican legislature.