(St Paul)--April 1
In a surprising reversal of political fortunes, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie told a stunned capitol press corps today that the state canvassing board had directed him to certify Lake Crystal corn farmer and perpetual candidate Greg Mikkelson as the winner of the 2008 congressional election in Minnesota's First Congressional district.
The decertification of Tim Walz, a Democrat from Mankato, came after months of a top secret investigation of voting irregularities first discovered in the hand recount of ballots for the United Senates Senate contest.
A robot bearing an uncanny resemblance to former Senate Minority Leader Dick Day has been seized in connection with the investigation, Ritchie added.
"Tim is the last person I wanted to see harmed," a somber Ritchie said, "But a guy's got to do his job, and I'm doing mine."
According to Ritchie, his office's investigation discovered that voting machines in the district had been rigged to give Congressman Walz 62.5 percent of the vote, while distributing the rest between Republican challenger Brian Davis and IP standard bearer Mikkelson.
During the hand recount triggered by the close margin in the Senate race, local election officials noticed that far more ballots appeared to have been cast for Greg Mikkelson than machine counts had indicated. The alarmed public servants brought their concerns to Ritchie's attention.
"When we counted the ballots in the congressional race, we learned that Mikkelson had actually received 70 percent of the vote, with Congressman Walz trailing at 20 percent and Davis with 5 percent," Ritchie said.
"Forensic experts suggested that if we kept it quiet, the culprit would grow bold and brag about his successful attack on the democratic process," Ritchie explained.
Ritchie first suspected that Senator Day was involved in the theft of the election during a state senate hearing in January when the Owatonna senator--or the robot imposter rather--defended the voting machines over the intent of human citizens.
According to numerous sources, Day had said, "why isn't it that we can put it in a machine, and if the machine can't read what somebody is trying to vote for, I personally don't care if they're disenfranchised or not.. . ."
Acting on this hunch, Ritchie ordered his staff to google Senator Day on a regular basis. Their first big break in the investigation came when an intern stumbled on a report on the Tild blog that documented Senator Day's true nature as a terminator, or a "Termindaytor" as Ms. Tild wrote.
"The citizens of the First Congressional District and Minnesota owe her watchful eye an enormous debt," Ritchie said, "without her post to point us in the right direction, we'd still be scratching our heads over this one."
Forensics experts from the BCA traced motor oil found on the voting machines to that used by the robot. Ritchie added that the android assumed Senator Day's identity in October, when Day had journeyed to Alabama to take in a NASCAR race.
"Just don't ask me which one," the Mineapolis liberal said.
The robot said that before dispatching Day to an undisclosed location in the future, it had been persuaded by the seasoned politician to seek vengeance against Brian Davis by rigging the election to ensure Walz's lop-sided victory.
Political scientists explain Mikkelson win
Ritchie said that the robot had no way of knowing that Mikkelson had gained momentum in the closing weeks of the campaign. Local political science professors agreed.
"If the Termindaytor read accounts by Don Davis or any other reporters--which is improbable in itself, since let's face it, it was a beyond-the-metro-snoozer--he'd have missed Greg. We all did," Hamline University political poobah David Schultz said.
"Exit polls in Adrian, Darfur, Cherry Valley and other bellwether communities in Southern Minnesota revealed a Mikkelson groundswell," Schultz confessed. " But when the machine counts didn't match up with the exit polls, we all said WTF? and discarded the data."
"My bad," Humphrey Insitute director Lawrence Jacobs said.
A Minnesota State University at Mankato grad student said on background that exit polls indicated that voters had noticed that Mikkelson didn't run any television ads, or conduct robocalls, doorknocks, or lit drops, appear in parades, or any of the annoying campaign strategies that Walz and Davis followed.
"They said they were so sick of campaigns after all the stuff that they saw about McCain and Obama, Coleman and Franken, Coleman and Franken, Coleman and Franken that they thought they could make a difference on the local level," said the student, who requested anonymity.
"I gotta live in this town," the Mankato resident said. She added that she had taken social studies classes and played football for former Congressman Walz.
Mikkelson, Davis, Walz, Pelosi react
Reached just outside a corn crib on a cold and windy day, Mikkelson said that his first order of business once sworn in would be to order the arrest of former President George W. Bush for personally planting the explosives that brought down the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001.
Twin Cities progressive peace activists cheered the development.
Dr. Brian Davis was unavailable for comment. A colleague at the Mayo Clinic said the oncologist had headed up to his lake cabin in Wisconsin to reflect of his crushing defeat at the polls to Mikkelson.
Congressman Walz said that while he was disappointed to leave Washington, the process was most important and he was eager to return to the classroom. Walz was unavailable for comment after the Disassociated Press learned that the Mankato School Board had cut the position from which he was on leave.
"Our bad," a spokesman for the school district said. "There were budget cuts and we figured he'd be in DC forever, so no one would notice."
Speaker Pelosi said she'd miss Congressman Walz but was relieved that she'd no longer have to step over his two-year-old son Gus during a tantrum.
Day fate unknown; Entenza raises concerns
The fate of the real Senator Day was unclear, Ritchie told the press conference. Day's associates said that they had noticed small changes in the colorful senator's behavior but nothing that stood out.
"He was just the same Dick that he'd always been, maybe more so," said Chris Johnson, Day's former congressional campaign manager.
Minnesota 2020 director and DFL governor candidate Matt Entenza has asked for an investigation of Senator Day's wife to determine if she, too, was a robot from another time. "Look, it may sound improbable," Entenza said, "but the private investigator I hired to dig into this said that cause exists for bringing her in for questioning."
Entenza added that Mrs. Day had published a letter in a recent issue of the Owatonna People's Press calling his think tank Minnesota 2010.
"If that's not reason to suspect that she can travel back and forth in time like those terminators in Schwarzenegger films," Entenza said, "I don't know what is."
Janet Day has retained former Attorney General Mike Hatch as legal counsel.
Due to this unforeseen turn of events, Bluestem Prairie will cease publication tomorrow.