Minge had requested a recount in the Second Congressional District, which had been done in 29 counties, including Meeker and Kandiyohi. The ballots for the city of Paynesville, Paynesville Township, the city of Eden Valley, and a precinct of Eden Lake Township were recounted.
Disputed ballots had been brought back to the Wright County District Court for ruling when Minge gave in. Around 2,000 ballots were brought back to court for rulings, and lawyers for both candidates agreed on splitting 1,600 of them, leaving some 300 ballots to wrangle with in court. One day in the courtroom, on Monday, Dec. 11, produced rulings on only a handful of ballots.
Even Minge's most favorable projections had him losing by 50 votes, so he conceded on Tuesday, Dec. 12, just hours after the Press went to press last week.
Minge's staff claimed the recount had narrowed Kennedy's lead to 148, while Kennedy's team announced last week that his lead had grown to 234.
The concession means the official tally will be the one certified after the Nov. 7 election. Kennedy officially got 138,957 to Minge's 138,802. In percentage points of the vote, the difference was less than a tenth of a point, 48.10 for Kennedy to 48.05 for Minge.
The closest Congressional election in Minnesota, according to the Star Tribune, was the 1986 race between Arlan Stangeland and Collin Peterson in the Seventh District. Stangeland won by 121 votes.
In comparison to Florida, the recount process in Minnesota worked well. "Minnesotans can hold their heads up high," said Kennedy in a written statement. "The result of the hand recount of the more than 290,000 ballots in the Second District proves how accurate our elections are here in Minnesota."
No appeals here. the recount was handled in one courtroom. Three-person teams with a representative for each candidate and a neutral third party visited each county and any contested ballots were brought back to court for rulings.
When the numbers indicated Minge had lost, he admitted defeat to his challenger.
"In Minnesota, the will of the voters was the basis of victory," Kennedy said in a radio interview last week.
Minge pledged to help in transition for Kennedy, who will be sworn in on Jan. 3. Minge is serving his fourth term in the House of Representatives. He participated in the December session of Congress. He announced no definite plans for his life after Congress, other than to stay active in policy making.
"I have tried to work extremely hard every day to represent all the citizens of southwestern Minnesota," said Minge in a written statement to the media. "I have enjoyed working with the people from both parties on important matters like protecting the Minnesota River, restoring fiscal discipline to the federal budget, fighting for family farmers, and working to help rural communities. I hope these efforts will continue into the future."
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