Democrat Al Franken's campaign said he ultimately will defeat Republican Sen. Norm Coleman by several dozen votes as the recount in Minnesota continues.
Marc Elias, counsel to Franken’s campaign, stated that Franken will lead by between 35 and 50 votes when the state canvassing board finishes its review of challenged ballots.
He added that "at some point not too long after that, Al Franken will stand before you as the senator-elect from Minnesota."
Predictably, the Coleman campaign disagreed. Mark Drake, Coleman's communications director, called Elias' statement "bluster and hot air."
He declared: "We have no doubt that once this recount is fully completed, Senator Coleman will be in the lead and will be re-elected to the Senate."
According to Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post, Democrats are increasingly confident that after more than six weeks of counting and recounting the ballots in Minnesota, Franken is likely to prevail and take Coleman’s Senate seat.
On Tuesday, a court will consider Coleman’s assertion that some votes in Franken strongholds were counted twice, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
And the two camps will try to devise a process for counting any absentee ballots that were wrongly rejected.
State officials say as many as 1,600 absentee ballots were rejected mistakenly and could decide the election, according to the Star Tribune, which endorsed Coleman.
The canvassing board issued a projection Saturday night that Franken will pick up 270 votes when it finishes. If the projection proves correct, Franken will beat Norm Coleman by 78 votes, Fox News reported Monday.
Vote totals have changed markedly since Nov. 4, when Coleman led Franken by 725 votes.
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