ST. PAUL, Minn. — Republican Tom Emmer, bound for a recount loss and with his legal options dwindling, has decided to concede the Minnesota governor's race to Democrat Mark Dayton, a person with knowledge of the decision told The Associated Press on Tuesday.
The Republican source said Emmer planned to make a public announcement Wednesday morning from his home in Delano. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak ahead of an official announcement.
Dayton is primed to break his party's 20-year absence in the governor's mansion and to deny Republicans their 30th governorship in a year when the GOP padded its ranks.
Emmer's decision came on the same day the Minnesota Supreme Court issued an opinion that closed off a potential avenue for an election lawsuit.
Emmer trailed Dayton by nearly 9,000 votes heading into a recount that has changed little. A Democratic official close to Dayton said the senator hadn't received a call from Emmer. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to comment publicly on the matter.
In the Supreme Court's decision, justices said local officials were within their power to use more than one method for pairing the number of votes and voters. In some places, officials count slips of paper known as voter receipts rather than count signatures in polling place rosters. The goal is to make sure vote tallies in precincts match the number of voters.
Emmer trailed Dayton by nearly 9,000 votes heading into the recount, and the margin changed little through a weeklong recount. Republican volunteers challenged thousands of ballots, but most challenges were ruled frivolous by local election officials and ultimately almost all were withdrawn by both sides. That made the state canvassing board meeting due to start Wednesday all but academic.
The next governor is to be sworn in Jan. 3, with the Legislature to convene the next day.
Even some Republicans had said they hadn't seen anything that would have supported a successful legal challenge by Emmer, but Democrats had feared that the GOP would opt for a lawsuit just to keep Dayton out of office. That would have kept current GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty in office just as new Republican majorities were coming to power in the Legislature.
Both Dayton and Emmer created transition teams, but uncertainty over the result threatened an orderly change in administrations just as Minnesota confronts a $6.2 billion budget deficit. Dayton campaigned on a promise to tax the wealthy as part of a budget solution, and said last week he intended to pursue that if confirmed as the winner.
Dayton, 63, served a single term in the U.S. Senate from 2000-2006 before deciding not to run for a second. He worked briefly as a schoolteacher before turning to politics and public service, serving as state auditor in the 1990s and holding cabinet-level positions in two different administrations in the 1970s and '80s.
Emmer, 49, is a three-term state legislator whose reputation as a Capitol firebrand made it a surprise for some when he beat out a more experienced lawmaker to become the GOP nominee in the spring.