Did Norm Coleman win?

According to the Minnesota Secretary of State, the Minnesota Senate race is not quite over. A photo finish is guaranteed, with incumbent Republican Senator Norm Coleman edging out Al Franken by 1,037 votes out of nearly 3,000,000 votes cast as of 5:41 a.m. (Central) this morning. That’s with with 99.71 percent of precincts reporting, leaving 12 precincts out there somewhere to report results. (CNN shows the race even closer with a few more votes counted, with Coleman leading Franken by 613 votes).

Under Minnesota law, a recount is mandatory (unless waived by the loser) in the event that the candidates are separated by less than .5 percent. They are separated, for the moment, by .03 percent, with Coleman receiving 42.0 percent of the vote to Franken’s 41.97 and Dean Barkley’s 15.16. You might say that every vote counted — write-in candidates alone received 2,342 votes.

When I went to see Senator Coleman campaigning down the street from where I live this past Saturday, he seemed to have a sixth sense regarding the closeness of the race. In his closing remarks Senator Coleman quoted Maimonides’ admonition that “A person should see himself and the whole world as being on a knife edge, precisely and exquisitely balanced.” With one good deed, Maimonides says, a person “can alter the balance of his life and the whole world to the side of blessing and life.” The Minnesota Senate race proves, if you ever had a doubt, that Maimonides was on to something there.

UPDDATE: With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the Minnesota Secretary of State shows Coleman eking out a 725 vote victory over Franken, pending a recount.

MORE: As of Wednesday afternoon, the Secretary of State has reduced Coleman’s lead to 475 votes.

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