Franken lead at 50 with absentees left to count

Associated Press - December 30, 2008 11:33 AM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Democratic candidate Al Franken now holds a 50 vote lead over Republican Sen. Norm Coleman with almost all of the counting in Minnesota's Senate race done.

Franken's lead grew by a few votes on Tuesday when the state Canvassing Board finished allocating thousands of ballots that had been held up due to candidate challenges.

Coleman's hopes now ride on a pool of uncounted absentee ballots that will be opened before next week. The size of that pile is in dispute but it is thought to be around 1,350. Coleman's campaign wants to add 650 more to the stack.

Even if the board declares a winner next week, the race won't be over. The losing party is expected to challenge the outcome in court.

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