Republican Tom Emmer Concedes Minnesota Governor's Race

Tom Emmer AP Photo/Jim Mone

At a press conference Wednesday, Republican Tom Emmer conceded the Minnesota governor's race to Democratic former Sen. Mark Dayton.

"Minnesotans have made their choice, by however thin a margin, and we respect that choice," he said.

Dayton led by about 9,000 votes on election night, and his advantage over Emmer did not change significantly following an automatic statewide recount.

Emmer could have sued over the results, but his campaign decided against doing so in the wake of a Minnesota Supreme Court decision Tuesday that Emmer did not have standing to demand a count of polling place signatures and then compare the findings to the number of votes.

Had Emmer sued, it could have delayed Dayton from being seated and kept Republican governor (and likely presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty) in office on an interim basis. At his press conference today, as the Associated Press reports, Emmer said, "I do not believe a delay in the seating of the next governor will unite us or help us move the state forward."

Mark Dayton AP

Following the 2008 election, Minnesotans also saw a battle over an election outcome, in that case between Democrat Al Franken and Republican Norm Coleman for a Senate seat. Franken won the seatafter a nasty eight-month fight complete with recounts and lawsuits.

Democrats now control the Minnesota governor's office for the first time in two decades, a prize made even more significant by the coming battle over redistricting in the wake of the 2010 census. (Though Republican gains in the Minnesota legislature will to some extent mitigate the Democrats' advantage.)

Overall, the GOP still has the edge in governorships, as The Fix notes: Republicans will control 29 governorships in the new term, while Democrats will control 20. One will be held by Rhode Island independent Lincoln Chaffee.

Emmer, a former state representative, made his concession on his front porch with his family at his side. He said he had a cordial conversation before conceding with Dayton, who left the Senate after one term in 2006, arguing that Democrats could field a stronger candidate.

Brian Montopoli is senior political reporter for You can read more of his posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.