A week after the polls closed, there’s no end in sight for the election fight between Norm Coleman and Al Franken for Minnesota’s Jewish Senate seat.
As Politico reports, Coleman’s lead now stands at a meager 206 votes out of more than 2.4 million ballots cast. That’s a difference of 41.99 percent of the vote to 41.98, according to the state’s secretary of state
A mandatory recount is required because the margin is less than 0.5 percent.
The post-election fight has been full of charges of ballot box stuffing, votes seemingly discovered in the middle of the night, and in one case noted by Politico, “an election official from solidly Democratic Hennepin County left 32 absentee ballots in his car, netting Franken an additional 11 votes.”
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg has built “a solid reputation delivering federal funds to New Jersey for mass transit, beach replenishment and road projects” over four decades in the Senate, but the Philadelphia Inquirer calls former Congressman Dick Zimmer “a viable alternative.”
The Inky threw its support and endorsement in the New Jersey Senate election behind Zimmer, who the paper notes has a reputation as a fiscal conservative, who bucks his party and would fight earmarks, but also has a reputation being being a moderate.
The most recent polls show Lautenberg with a 13 to 22 point advantage.
The New Jersey race is one of two this year that features two Jewish candidates. The other is the close fight in Minnesota between incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken.
Check out this open letter to Minnesota Republican Senator Norm Coleman from rival Al Franken …
Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota stood by his man – President Bush – as the keynote speaker at the Orthodox Union’s annual dinner in New York last night.
Having warmed up the crowd with the story of how he grew up in a “liberal Jewish Democratic family from Brooklyn and wound up as a Republican Senator from Minnesota,” Coleman went on to defend the President’s “steadfastness.”
“I understand that the President’s approval ratings are very low,” Coleman told an audience of 700 in a ballroom at the Hilton New York. “I believe the President’s steadfastness in the war against Islamic extremism must be applauded.” (The line did indeed draw hearty applause, according to the O.U.’s spokesman, Steve Steiner.)
Coleman also spoke out against Iran, which he said “must not be allowed to develop a nuclear weapon” and must be stopped from exporting “its extremist Islamic vision” as to Hezbollah, Hamas and other terrorist groups.
FYI for your calendar, Coleman generally speaks at the O.U.’s annual Israel Mission in Washington, D.C., which this year will be held June 12-13.