There will be a recount in the House district 8B race between Mary Franson and Bob Cunniff
by Tony Petrangelo
Nov 8, 2012, 4:00 PM

One vote separates Mary Franson and Bob Cunniff in 8B

Perhaps the most surprising result of election night in Minnesota as it concerns the Minnesota legislature, was the incredibly close contest that freshman representative Mary Franson found herself in. Incredibly close may even be an understatement, because you can’t get any closer.

As of right now Mary Franson leads Bob Cunniff 10,652-10,651. A difference of a single vote.

This will of course lead to an automatic recount of the ballots in this race, but we will have to wait for the final canvass before that gets scheduled. And of course after the canvass the lead may or may not still be one vote.

In the meantime though, we can look at the results of prior recounts and what the chances are that Cunniff can pull out the victory.

The last recount in the state was after the primary elections in August, when Terra Cole requested one despite her 19 vote deficit being outside of the automatic recount threshold. That was in a low turnout primary though, so a 19 vote deficit was rather substantial.

While looking at that recount back in August, I compiled a table of some past legislative recounts and the results of them which I’ll reprint here with the addition of the outcome of the 59B recount.

District Candidate Election Recount Change % change
15B King Banaian 5477 5480 +3 +0.05%
2010 Carol Lewis 5467 5467 0 0%
25B Kelby Woodard 8898 8903 +5 +0.06%
2010 David Bly 8867 8866 -1 -0.01%
27A Rich Murray 7509 7511 +2 +0.03%
2010 Robin Brown 7452 7454 +2 +0.03%
59B Raymond Dehn 876 877 +1 +0.1%
2012 Terra Cole 857 857 0 0%

As you can see from the table, in a typical Minnesota legislative recount, there really isn’t that much movement. There is only one instance of a candidate actually losing a vote as a result of a recount, but more commonly, a candidate adds a vote or two.

If we assume that the above data is a representative sample of how legislative recounts in Minnesota turn out, Bob Cunniff has a 40% chance of at least being tied with Mary Franson after the recount is concluded and a 30% chance of winning outright.

There is a case to be made though, that the above data is not a representative sample since it includes results from this summers primary, which was a low turnout summer primary. If you exclude that year, and just look at the data from the three races in 2010, than Cunniff has a 37% chance of tying and a 25% chance of winning outright.

Either way you look at it, the odds are not small that the results of the house district race in 8B could go the other way.

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