The Coleman Response

The following conversation occurred last Tuesday, December 23rd, after the State Canvassing Board adjourned, but before the Minnesota Supreme Court convened that afternoon. This pseudo-press conference involved two members of Coleman's legal counsel; Fritz Knaak and Tony Trimble.

Summary: The Coleman campaign believes there are about 20 allocation errors pertaining to the challenged ballots that will directly benefit Coleman's vote count. They believe that the Franken campaign has issues with just a third of that number.

Fritz Knaak: A well, we think that there are any of a number of situations where they failed to count Coleman votes, there in the reconciliation process. I think Tony, maybe if you want to weigh in on that, but a --

Tony Trimble: Sure.

Fritz Knaak: We're quite confident they just missed a few.

Tony Trimble: We provided to the SOS and the Franken campaign today with a list of 20 ballots that were allocated incorrectly. They have quite a task ahead working on the spreadsheet with some sixty six hundred ballots to allocate and so over the weekend it's not to be unexpected that there might be a few clerical mistakes. But we have located 20 clerical mistakes in which votes that should have been allocated to Norn Coleman, err Senator Coleman where instead allocated to the other column meaning Barkley or another candidate. And also a handful that were allocated to Franken and of course if you deduct, redact the Franken vote and put it in the correct vote one which is the Coleman vote that's a two vote gain right there. That's a substantial correction and you'll note that the Franken campaign had a very very tiny list of reconciliation that they submitted today; not even a third of the size of ours. We picked up a goodly number of votes today just on reconciliations, so far.

Reporter B: How many ballots or still in your reconciliation pile?

Tony Trimble: We're still going through that, we submitted 20 today. But there is another dozen or so that were crosschecked and of course both campaigns, this is not done yet, both campaigns are scouring the list, as they should, to make sure that the count, at least the allocation of these challenges rolls was made correctly.

Source: (*.wav, 00:07:28)
Video: via (00:07:45)

The next quote picks up where the last quote ended.

Summary: The Coleman lawyers seem to have a disagreement regarding the release of some internal information. Tony Trimble starts to answer a question, but is semi-interrupted by Fritz Knaak; Tony Trimble then states that there are two or three challenges that were allocated to Franken that should be allocated to Coleman. Apparently Fritz Knaak did not want this count to be public knowledge. The Coleman campaign still believes they can overcome the StarTribune reported 47 vote discrepancy; the StarTribune is now reprting a 46 vote lead for Franken.

Reporter C: How many are there of the two for one variety?

Tony Trimble: I'd have to go back to the list but it was a --

Fritz Knaak: We can't specify that --

Tony Trimble: it was a, two or three at least.

Fritz Knaak: We're expecting more. Understand that this is an ongoing process and we're, I think we're mostly done but a, at this point the staff is still working through these.

Reporter D: Is it enough to overcome the 47 votes?

Tony Trimble: We sure think so; we were quite pleased with the results from last night's review.

Source: (*.wav, 00:07:28)
Video: via (00:07:45)

The following quote preceded the two already listed, by about three minutes. No summary required.

Reporter A: Can you win without a favorable decision from the supreme court?

Fritz Knaak: Yes we can.

Source: (*.wav, 00:07:28)
Video: via (00:07:45)

At this point, on December 23rd, the Coleman campaign apparently thought they could still win by overcoming the current deficit without a favorable Supreme Court ruling. This stance appears to have changed. On December 24th, after the Supreme Court ruled against Coleman's petition, the Coleman campaign released the following statement:

The decision by the Minnesota Supreme Court today virtually guarantees two things in this recount. One: it ensures that there will be an election contest because Minnesotans simply will not support an election as close as this being decided by some votes being counted twice. Two: this ensures that no certificate of election will be issued due to an election contest inevitably being filed, leaving Minnesota without two sitting United States Senators on January 6th.

Source: Norm Coleman for Senate

Thus, one of two things occured; either something caused their internal count to change (which we'll never know, because they don't release that information), or the Coleman campaign never actually thought they could win, without the need for an election contest, based upon the challenged ballot returns.

In either case we'll all find out more tomorrow, when the State Canvassing Board meets again at 9 AM CT to finalize all 6,688 challenge resolutions. I think its fairly safe to say that the Coleman campaign believes they will lose amongst the rougly 1,600 yet to be counted absentee ballots based upon their already announced intent of challenging, what they perceive to be, the outcome of the recount.

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