The Daily Digest: 12-19-08

It will now be called the 2009 Senate race since it’s unlikely we’ll know a winner until the New Year. The Minnesota Supreme Court extended the recount when it ruled that wrongly rejected absentee ballots have to be counted. The court, however, put some pretty stiff stipulations on how they’re identified and counted. MPR, MinnPost, the Star Tribune, AP and the Pi Press have stories.

As Dan Rather would say, “This race is tighter than a rusted lug nut on a 1958 Chevy..”

AP and MPR have the margin between GOP Sen. Norm Coleman and Democrat Al Franken at two votes. The Star Tribune has it at 5 votes. Regardless, everyone (even the Coleman folks) expect Franken to take the lead today. MPR, the Star Tribune, AP and the Pi Press have stories.

The Pi Press says the Franken campaign is also trying to get some absentee ballots that were rejected for not being having proper voter registration back into the mix. They say some people were, in fact, registered.

Forum Communications says the ballot markings bewilder the board.

CNN reports that Gov. Pawlenty has researched his role in filling a vacancy but doesn’t think he’ll have to.

The Pi Press examines whether Coleman can use campaign funds for a legal defense.

State Government

Gov. Pawlenty will announce his budget cuts today at 2 pm. Aid to cities and counties is on the table.

The Star Tribune says a cut in state aid will pinch local governments.

House DFLers want budget balancing ideas from the public.

The Madoff scandal may hit the state budget.

Minnesota lost more than 10,000 jobs last month.

A Washington County judge rejects health claims related to 3M chemicals.

Auditors find sloppy money handling by state officials.

The U of M updates the Iron Range on a mesothelioma study.

The state tweaks school report cards.

Congress

President Bush is considering an “orderly” bankruptcy to deal with the automakers.

DFL Rep. Keith Ellison said his Hajj was transformative.

Obama

President-elect Obama discusses an $850 billion stimulus package with Democrats in Congress.

Obama picks Daniel Tarullo for the Fed Board.

Organized labor is thrilled with Obama’s pick to head the Labor department.

DFL Rep. Collin Peterson praises Obama’s pick of Tom Vilsack as Ag Secretary.

Peterson says Obama will face an uphill battle if he tries to merge the SEC and CFTC.

DFL Rep. Jim Oberstar praises Obama’s pick of Ray LaHood as Transportation Secretary.

Finally

Good-bye Deep Throat.

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