Go to HHH home page.
Smart Politics
 


How Will the National Media Cover the Franken vs. Coleman Recount?

Bookmark and Share

As the headline of Barack Obama’s historic victory begins to fade and political reporters and analysts need to turn their attention elsewhere, it is likely the recount in Minnesota's U.S. Senate race will satisfy their cravings and subsequently garner even more national attention.

To date, due to its understandably Obama-centric coverage, the national media has largely made only passing references to the close battle and forthcoming recount here in the Gopher State (as well as the shocking election results in the Alaska Senate race, with convicted felon Ted Stevens in a fight for his political life).

Still, there are a number of reasons the Al Franken-Norm Coleman matchup should begin to draw more of the media’s eye: 1) the race was the most expensive U.S. Senate contest in the nation in 2008, 2) the race features a well-known celebrity in Franken, and 3) the race had the strongest performance by a third-party candidate in any U.S. Senate matchup this year.

The stance of some national media figures will be quite predictable: Bill O’Reilly, a long-time adversary of Franken, has already weighed in on his program, stating last week how he was befuddled as to how any American could vote for this “evil? man. O’Reilly made no mention on his program as to how nearly 50 percent of Alaskans could vote for a (Republican) felon in a U.S. Senate race.

Perhaps some of the media will recast the recount as the 2008 version of Gore vs. Bush. The media tried to do this with Kerry vs. Bush in Ohio in 2004, but the story did not have any legs. The true sequel to Gore vs. Bush in 2004 was Washington’s Gubernatorial contest in which Democrat Christine Gregoire defeated Republican Dino Rossi by 129 votes. That race also featured a highly controversial recount – as well as a rematch in 2008 (which Gregoire won by 7 points; it is doubtful, should Franken lose the recount, that the DFL will give him a second chance to oust Coleman).

Some political reporters will undoubtedly frame their story as another instance of Minnesota wackiness: “This is the state that elected former wrestler Jesse Ventura, so it is no surprise nearly half the state is willing to send a comedian to D.C.…?

The question the media should pose is how it is that Republicans continue to edge out DFLers in high profile races in Minnesota in Democratic wave election years (in 2006 with Tim Pawlenty, and in 2008 with Coleman and 6th CD Representative Michele Bachmann).

Smart Politics will continue to keep an eye and ear on the national media as they descend upon the Gopher State to cover the recount.

Previous post: Green Party Sets Personal Best in Minnesota's HD 61B Contest
Next post: Inside Obama's Landslide: The Young Man Went West

Leave a comment


Remains of the Data

No Free Passes: States With 2 Major Party Candidates in Every US House Race

Indiana has now placed candidates from both major parties on the ballot in a nation-best 189 consecutive U.S. House races, with New Hampshire, Minnesota, Idaho, and Montana also north of 100 in a row.

Political Crumbs

Gubernatorial Highs and Lows

Two sitting governors currently hold the record for the highest gubernatorial vote ever received in their respective states by a non-incumbent: Republican Matt Mead of Wyoming (65.7 percent in 2010) and outgoing GOPer Dave Heineman of Nebraska (73.4 percent in 2006). Republican Gary Herbert of Utah had not previously won a gubernatorial contest when he notched a state record 64.1 percent for his first victory in 2010, but was an incumbent at the time after ascending to the position in 2009 after the early departure of Jon Huntsman. Meanwhile, two sitting governors hold the record in their states for the lowest mark ever recorded by a winning gubernatorial candidate (incumbent or otherwise): independent-turned-Democrat Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island (36.1 percent in 2010) and Democrat Terry McAuliffe of Virginia (47.8 percent in 2013).


An Idaho Six Pack

Two-term Idaho Republican Governor Butch Otter only polled at 39 percent in a recent PPP survey of the state's 2014 race - just four points ahead of Democratic businessman A.J. Balukoff. Otter's low numbers reflect his own struggles as a candidate (witness his weak primary win against State Senator Russ Fulcher) combined with the opportunity for disgruntled Idahoans to cast their votes for one of four third party and independent candidates, who collectively received the support of 12 percent of likely voters: Libertarian John Bujak, the Constitution Party's Steve Pankey, and independents Jill Humble and Pro-Life (aka Marvin Richardson). The six candidate options in a gubernatorial race sets an all-time record in the Gem State across the 46 elections conducted since statehood. The previous high water mark of five candidates was reached in seven previous cycles: 1902, 1904, 1908, 1912, 1914, 1966, and 2010.


more POLITICAL CRUMBS

Humphrey School Sites
CSPG
Humphrey New Media Hub

Issues />

<div id=
Abortion
Afghanistan
Budget and taxes
Campaign finances
Crime and punishment
Economy and jobs
Education
Energy
Environment
Foreign affairs
Gender
Health
Housing
Ideology
Immigration
Iraq
Media
Military
Partisanship
Race and ethnicity
Reapportionment
Redistricting
Religion
Sexuality
Sports
Terrorism
Third parties
Transportation
Voting