Gov. maybe-elect Tom Emmer held his first public appearance since Election Day this afternoon. He’s answered questions at a news conference at the Capitol about his close race with Gov. maybe-elect Mark Dayton, and the coming recount.
“The Minnesota voters have spoken, we just don’t know what they’ve said yet,” he said. “Since last Wednesday’s we’ve gained over 1,000 votes.
Q: Are you planning a transition team ?
A: We ran to win and the goal was to govern. We are ready to govern in the event that is the ultimate outcome. I’ll announce the transition team that’s already been put in place in a few days.
Q: Will you challenge this in court if the recount doesn’t show you winning?
A: It’s not an appropriate question. There’ll be a hand recount of 2.2 million ballots and we’ll see how that turns out.
Q: Do you expect to win?
A: The voters have spoken, we just don’t know what they’ve said. You’ve got 2.2 million votes that have been cast and .4 separation. There’ll be a recount.
Q: What do you think the voters said since they elected DFL executive officers and a GOP Legislature?
A: We’ll have to reserve judgment on that.
Q: What about the Legislature?
A: They were very clear on that. This is the only one that we’re talking about.
Q: What does it mean that you have Eric Magnuson as chief litigator?
A: He’s one of the most respected legal minds in Minnesota. That speaks for itself.
Q: Is it an indication you’re willing to go into January?
A: It says we’re committed to making sure the process works as intended.
Q: Why did your campaign play a subservient role in this while the party took the lead?
A: It’s not a campaign anymore. It’s more of a mechanical process.
Q: What have you been doing for the last week? You’ve said nothing today you couldn’t have said a year ago.
A: I got about as far away from here as I could — Manitoba.
Q: Are you preparing to take over?
A: As I said early, we ran our campaign to win and we’re prepared to govern.
Q: Do you have people in place, considering names of commissioners?
A: We’ll do that in the next couple of days. We have a transition team and I’ll announce that in the next couple of days. We did our work beforehand. You asked where’s the detail during the campaign, and we were doing the work.
Q: Are you paying serious attention to what’s about to happen if you’ve been out of the country?
A: I’ve been doing my job. I’ve been involved… forgive me after 16 months if I took Friday, Saturday and Sunday to spend with some of my boys in Manitoba.
Q: Do you think there were serious problems in Hennepin County?
A: There was something going on that no one really understands yet.
Q: You’re a part of this process, are the lawyers preparing to file an election protest?
A: That’s premature. When you have this type of a process, you want to make sure it’s done in a fair, open, and honest manner. That’s what we’re trying to make sure of. At the end of the day, Minnesotans can be confident that it’s what Minnesotans decided for the future of the state.
Q: Did you pick any of the legal team?
A: I’m not out soliciting legal representation, but I was consulted.
Q: Rep. Ryan Winkler called this “frivolous litigating.”
A: That’s too bad. I’m sorry anyone suggested that our following the law… there’s a process that you follow. Maybe he’s feeling the effects of last Tuesday and he’s not thinking clearly. We’re talking about following the law as it exists.
Q: Do you think 1/2 of one percent is the correct amount for an automatic recount?
A: I don’t know.
Q: Is it overcomable? (sic)
A: I’m going to be very clear that this is about making sure that the process… the legal process that is in place, not the one someone might want to be in place, that the legal process is following. Since 10 a.m. last Wednesday, we’ve done nothing but close the gap. At the end of the day Minnesotans need to know…. that the legal process was followed or not.
Q: You’re not sure if you can win or not?
A: We’ll make sure those questions that exist — military ballots, absentee ballots, the issue in Hennepin County — about a 200-400,000 vote mistake — I think you’ve just got to let the process play itself out.
Q: Can you talk about your meeting with Gov. Pawlenty?
A: It was about transition and what happens if you’re sworn in as governor of Minnesota. I assume he’s talking about the same thing with Sen. Dayton this afternoon.
Q: How will you know whether or not the process works?
A: You have to ask yourself with six days and less than a quarter of the Canvassing Board’s work done, you’re already talking about 1,000 votes. You just have to let the process work. The hope by all of us is that it should be completed and everyone is satisfied with the result.
Q: How was your race so close in a Republican year?
A: Poor reporting; I think that was it.
Q: Seriously, have you reflected on that?
A: No. That’s one of the reasons we want to make sure the questions are answered.
Q: You underperformed compared to other Republicans.
A: I haven’t looked at my raw percentages and when I do I’ll answer that question.
Q: If this gets protracted out, will it cause you any financial problems?
A: We’ll see.
Q: Any thoughts on how the Legislature should proceed under a caretaker government?
Q: Did Gov. Pawlenty give you advice on developing a state budget?
A: I’ve done that work. There’s some detail work but that’ll be part of the transition team’s work. But we’ve done this work already.
Q: Why did you wait a week to talk to us?
A: You have to let the process work. It’s not a time for grandstanding. I’ll let the parties speak for themselves. From my perspective as the candidate who’s involved, I think it’s better we let the process work itself out.
Q: Do you think something smells fishy with this election?
A: I think we’ll let the process work itself out.
Q: Are you mentally preparing yourself to take this to the state Supreme Court?
A: I’ve answered that earlier. I’m doing what the law requires me as a candidate.
Q: Who makes the decision about how far to pursue this?
A: You’re making too many assumptions.
Q: Who’s in charge? You or the party?
A: There’s more than one person involved.