With the ongoing recount drama (actually, still a count drama) playing out between Bob Cunniff (DFL) and Mary Franson (R) in House District 8B, intrepid journalists are asking about earlier recounts.
Steve Perry at Politics in Minnesota found the Legislative Election Recounts page at the Minnesota Legislative Reference Library, a resource which cautioned that it wasn't complete.
Bluestem immediately spotted one omission: the 1992 recount between Republican Bob Ness and DFLer Nancy Larson in the 1990s configuration of 20A, which included parts of McLeod, Meeker, and Stearns County.
We weren't sure about the shifts from election night to the recount totals in that race, so Bluestem called Nancy Larson. She remembers the vote shifting from 86 votes to "I think 43," with Ness winning the seat in a recount marked by some irregularities, including missing ballots.
A pdf record of official and final 1992 election results on the library's website lists a 40-vote final margin.
Larson said that she didn't launch an additional challenge at the time in the courts because she felt that it would undermine public confidence in elections.
Ness, a moderate Republican, and Larson have remained cordial since the 1992 battle. Larson has been active in DFL and rural politics since that time, running for John Marty's Lt. Governor in 1994 and state auditor in 1998--and for the house this year. She also lobbied for rural cities and served as a DNC member.
Ness retired from the legislature in 2002, and took a job working for DFL CD7 congressman Collin Peterson. Dean Urdahl won the newly configured seat that was then 18B. With this year's new re-districting, the number morphed into 18A. Larson challenged incumbent Dean Urdahl, losing to the Grove City lawmaker with about 42 percent of the vote.
But the Larson-Urdahl race wasn't the only recount that happened in 1992. According to the Pioneer Press, there were six other recounts.
Via newsbank, the Legislative Reference Library dug an Associated Press article in the Pioneer Press, "Seven Close Legislative Contest Headed For Automatic Recounts:
Election officials have scheduled recounts in seven Minnesota House races under state law that calls for automatic recounts in legislative races decided by fewer than 200 votes.
Two of the seven races were won by Independent-Republicans, while DFLers came out on top in five, according to final unofficial returns.
Here's the recount schedule:
1. District 8A, Nov. 17-19; Rep. Mary Murphy, DFL-Hermantown, defeated IR challenger Jan Grannes of Carlton by 161 votes. Final count: 8180-8027 or 153 votes
2. District 14A, Nov. 23-25; Steve Dehler, IR-St. Joseph, defeated Jim Read, DFL-St. Joseph, by 93 votes. Final count: 7576-7478 or 98 votes
3: District 20A, Nov. 30-Dec. 2; Robert Ness, IR-Dassel, defeated Nancy Larson, DFL-Dassel, by 86 votes. see above
4. District 24B, Nov. 9-10 & 12; Rep. Don Ostrom, DFL-St. Peter, defeated Rep. Sal Frederick, IR-Mankato, by 44 votes. Final count: 8736-8697 or 39 votes
5. District 40A, Nov. 16; Mark Mahon, DFL-Bloomington, defeated Rep. Joyce Henry, IR-Bloomington, by 52 votes. Final count: 8201-8146 or 55 votes
6. District 52B, Nov. 9; Geri Evans, DFL-New Brighton, defeated Rep. Dick Pellow, IR-New Brighton, by 129 votes. Final count: 8549-8415 or 134 votes
7. District 53B, Nov. 10; Marc Asch, DFL-North Oaks, defeated Rep. Don Valento, IR-Little Canada, by 177 votes. Final count: 9287-9172 or 115 votes
Bluestem has posted the final vote counts and vote spread from the recounts in bold (source here), and the incredibly cheerful and helpful staff at the Legislative Reference Library will be updating the page tomorrow.
Photo: Nancy Larson.