The reaction is rolling in after Republican Tom Emmer conceded the governor's race recount today to DFLer Mark Dayton.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty weighed in shortly before Emmer made his official announcement. He told reporters that he always thought Emmer was realistic about the recount process.
"This was an automatic recount. The law requires it. The canvassing board was going to get it resolved one way or another. But I think his main concern has been this issue of how could there be more votes than voters who signed in. And thats why he was waiting for that supreme court decision to see how they justified saying it was okay to have more votes than voters."
Pawlenty also said he plans to meet Thursday with Dayton to discuss the transition.
"We've been preparing with that in mind both in terms of the governor's office and the transition more broadly. And so, we've always assumed that a new governor would be here taking office on Jan. 3."
Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch, R-Buffalo, released a written statement:
"I would like to congratulate Rep. Emmer for all the hard work that he has done over the course of his campaign for governor," said Senate Majority Leader Amy Koch. "The Emmer Campaign fought a tough race and should hold their heads high despite the results of the legislatively mandated recount. The Minnesota Senate is prepared to work with Governor-elect Dayton to confront the economic challenges we face by promoting policies to foster private sector job growth and economic development, without raising taxes on Minnesota families and job providers."
Here's what Republican Party of Minnesota Chairman Tony Sutton had to say:
"Tom Emmer and Annette Meeks have served Minnesotans with great distinction for many years. As conservative champions of lower taxes, reform, and smaller, sensible government, Tom and Annette waged a principled and optimistic campaign that Minnesotans can be proud of. While Tom may be conceding the governor's race, his ideas that government must live within its means won the day as he led the ticket that took control of the state house and the state senate for the Republican Party. His message of smaller, sensible government will be what guides the legislature and is the political reality that the incoming governor will have to recognize. On behalf of the Republican Party of Minnesota, we wish Tom, Annette and their wonderful families all the best in their future endeavors."
Gov. Martin O'Malley of Maryland, chair of the Democratic Governors Association, issued this statement:
"Governor-Elect Mark Dayton will become the first Democrat in two decades to win the Minnesota governorship, and his victory is all the more impressive when you consider that he won in a tough climate. Mark won because he focused on rebuilding the state's stalled economy and putting people back to work. He has spent his public career dedicated to making Minnesota a better place to live, and we're confident that he'll succeed in the next four years. During the recount, he conducted himself with the wisdom, grace and patience that Minnesotans deserve in their next governor. We congratulate him on his win and look forward to working with him to move the nation and state forward in tough times."
The DGA also noted that it spent a record $1.5 million on the race in Minnesota.
The outgoing DFL Speaker of the Minnesota House, Margaret Anderson Kelliher, offered these parting words:
"Minnesota continues to face a host of challenges as we work to recover from a historic recession. I am pleased that a drawn out gubernatorial election challenge will not be among them. Rep. Tom Emmer's move to concede the race is a decision that places the needs of our state and her citizens first. As a fellow member of the House of Representatives, I want to thank him and his family for his years of service to Minnesota. Congratulations to Governor-elect Mark Dayton on his victory. He will face many difficult decisions early in his term as governor. One easy decision will be the acceptance of $1.4 billion in federal Medicaid funds. This was a key measure adopted by the 2010 legislature that ensures our next Governor has the opportunity to apply for these funds. While close election contests have become the norm in our state, today's developments are a reminder of the good work that can be achieved on the behalf of all of our people when we place the best interests of Minnesota front and center. I stand ready, along with the rest of our state, to support our next Governor."
The incoming DFL minority leaders in the Minnesota House and Senate, Rep. Paul Thissen and Sen. Tom Bakk, issued a joint statement:
"Congratulations to Governor-elect Dayton on his victory. Governor-elect Dayton offered Minnesotans a strong vision for growing an economy that works for Minnesota families, and for solving the state's budget challenges without simply pushing the burden onto our schools, seniors, and the middle-class. These are values our caucuses share, and we envision that we will have an extremely productive working relationship with the incoming Governor. We also want to thank Representative Emmer for his years of service to our state, and for choosing to do the right thing for Minnesota by not dragging out the recount process any further. Rep. Emmer has been a fine public servant and colleague, and has earned the gratitude and respect of all Minnesotans. This recount demonstrates that our election process is fair and works for Minnesotans. The reforms we passed last session protect voting rights by making sure every legal voter in Minnesota is allowed to vote and that their votes are counted in a fair and impartial manner required under state law."
Here's what House Majority Leader Matt Dean had to say:
"Congratulations to Governor-elect Dayton on his victory in what was an incredibly close, hard-fought election. We look forward to working with the leadership in the senate and the Governor to move Minnesota forward in what is likely to be an equally challenging session. In less than 70 days, Governor Dayton will deliver a balanced budget to the legislature. Doing so while assembling an entire administration and staff will be a daunting and sobering task. With the election behind us it will be important to begin the serious task of funding the priorities of Minnesota within our budget. Last session, the Minnesota legislature overwhelmingly rejected Gov-Elect Dayton's tax increases on a bipartisan vote. With fewer Democrats in both bodies, it's clear there is a firm bipartisan majority in the legislature that will again reject job-killing tax increases. I urge Governor-Elect Dayton to re-examine his priorities and begin with a responsible budget that lives within government's means. The Republican House majority stands ready to work with the new administration and make the tough decisions this session."
We also heard from Minnesota DFL Chair Brian Melendez, who released this statement:
"For the first time in two decades, Minnesota has elected a DFL governor. Congratulations to Governor-Elect Mark Dayton and Lieutenant Governor-Elect Yvonne Prettner Solon! Throughout the campaign and the recount, and all through his life of public service, Mark Dayton has listened to the people of Minnesota, and has worked to find solutions to their problems and to deliver results. Now that this election process is complete, Governor-Elect Dayton can get to work addressing the state's budget crisis, supporting public education, and creating jobs. I look forward to the Dayton administration, where Minnesota will finally have a governor who will stand up for everyday Minnesotans, who cares about our shared values of accountability, equality, opportunity, prosperity, and fair play, and who will do the work to truly build a better Minnesota."
Pawlenty's not capable of honesty about anything, is he? There was never a question about there being "more votes than voters." That's just ugly Republican spin, calculated to do the most possible damage to the most transparent and forthright electoral system in the United State of America. What a reprobate he is!
I was struck when I heard Governor Pawlenty's comments on MPR as to what was the difference now then when he was elected twice ? Wasn't the same procedures used .. you signed a book, a chit was given which you in turned gave to a poll worker who gave you a ballot that you used to cast your vote. They counted the number of chits and the number of ballots ... everything was accounted for ... in 2002 and in 2006, but now Governor Pawlenty has a concern about 2010 ?