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Minnesota's U.S. Senate race set a record Wednesday for delay. No election for statewide office in Minnesota has dragged on so long after the autumn vote without a winner being seated.
The old record was set by the 1962 governor's election between DFLer Karl Rolvaag and incumbent Republican Elmer L. Andersen. When that contest ended the following spring, Andersen, who thought he had been reelected, lost by 91 votes. Rolvaag took the oath of office on March 25, 1963.
Like the race between DFLer Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman, that struggle had its twists and turns.
Rolvaag held a narrow lead in the initial tally, but when the state Canvassing Board met in late November, it declared Andersen the winner. At the time, recounts weren't automatic in close races, but Rolvaag asked for one. A panel of judges ordered three-person teams to fan out across the state to review ballots. They found nothing illegal but enough errors to make a difference.
In this year's race, the three-judge panel that heard the Coleman and Franken election trial is expected to rule soon. But the losing candidate has the option of appealing to the Minnesota Supreme Court, and lawyers for Coleman -- who trailed by 225 votes after the recount -- have indicated they would do so.