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Emmer says he won't stretch out recount

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Republican Tom Emmer says he will not support prolonging a gubernatorial recount just for the sake of keeping fellow Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty in office. 

Emmer trails Democrat Mark Dayton by more than 8,750 votes after all but one of the state's counties have certified their vote totals. That margin is still narrow enough to trigger an automatic recount. 

Some Democrats have said they think it's impossible for Emmer to close the gap in a recount, and they fear he may file a frivolous lawsuit to delay Dayton from taking office. But Emmer told MPR News Thursday he would not agree to delaying tactics just to keep a Republican in the governor's office.  

"I will not be a part of that," said Emmer. "This process is going to be handled according the letter of the law. I am ultimately in charge and I will not particpate in using the law just to delay things. If there are honest issues that have to be addressed, we'll have to wait and see. But at this point, we're not asking for anything. The law is being applied the way it's written."

Emmer said there are questions about voting machine malfunctions, unsecured ballots and a mistake in Hennepin County, but he said the process has to be allowed to play itself out. 

The new governor is scheduled to be sworn into office on Jan. 3, 2011, but if the recount is not resolved, Gov. Pawlenty will remain in office until it is concluded.  Both houses of the Legislature will be under Republican control as of Jan. 3.