While other progressive blogs gleefully (or mournfully in conservatives' case) noted that Mary Franson was "clinging" to a one-vote lead while ballots in three precincts were headed toward a random pull of 35 ballots from 3 precincts. Bluestem had been noting that this gave Franson an advantage.
Franson now leads by 11 votes, according to a note on her personal Facebook page posted two hours ago.
Update: The vote total is Franson 10640, Cunniff 10629 or 49.98% to 49.93% w/ 19 write-ins,according to a tweet by AP reporter Brian Bakst. [end update]
Update #2: The Alexandria Echo Press reports on the details of the pulled ballots:
Of the ballots removed, 22 were for Cunniff, 12 were for Franson and one was not marked. Subtracting those votes from the district-wide totals gives Franson an 11-vote edge, 10,640 to 10,629. Franson held just a one-vote lead after the votes were initially tallied.
The new totals were certified and sent to the state where a recount is expected to be ordered next week.
Vote totals in other races also changed but not nearly enough to affect any outcomes. [end update]
In a statement to Bluestem, Franson writes:
I'm cautiously optimistic that my Election Night victory will be upheld by the recount and I will be able to continue to serve my constituents, I thank the many county and court staff who have maintained their professionalism in this process. Until the recount, I will pray that God's will be done, while preparing to return to St. Paul in January.
Far from putting her win at jeopardy, the odds were that her margin of victory would grow as ballots were pulled from precincts in Alexandria that had broken heavily for Cunniff. There being more votes for Cunniff marked on the ballots, the more likely that Cunniff-favoring ballots would be pulled, and thus votes for Cunniff subtracted from his totals.
Of course, this was not guaranteed, as these things are indeed random, but as we predicted, Franson's winning margin has widened.
Next up? An automatic recount. Should Franson's victory hold, few remedies remain for Cunniff.
Photo: The luckiest House candidate ever? Mary Franson, whose margin widened with the random vote pull dictated by state law in general and a judge's order yesterday.