By Don Davis, Forum Communications
ST. PAUL — A two-day recount put Minnesota state Rep. Mary Franson 12 votes ahead of Bob Cunniff, apparently sending her to a second term in the House.
There are not enough ballots in question to give Cunniff the lead, but the result is not official until the State Canvassing Board certifies it Tuesday.
Franson, R-Alexandria, picked up one vote Thursday during the Otter Tail County recount on Fergus Falls. Franson and Cunniff, DFL-Alexandria, each gained a vote during Wednesday’s Douglas County recount.
Recounts in the two counties left Franson with the dozen-vote lead. Cunniff’s attorney challenged who should receive five votes, while Franson’s attorney challenged one.
Even if the state board agrees with all of Cunniff’s challenges, he would remain short of Franson, a freshman lawmaker who has been a lightning rod for welfare supporters.
The House District 8B race was a one-vote affair, with Franson in front, on election night.
Her lead increased to 11 when 35 ballots were randomly discarded last week after over-votes were found in three Alexandria precincts. A judge ordered the ballots withdrawn before the recount, as state law requires.
Cunniff won a majority of Franson’s home county, Douglas, but the incumbent carried Otter Tail.
Another recount is to end Friday for a state Senate seat south of the Twin Cities.