On July 7, 2009, Al Franken was sworn in as Minnesota's junior U.S. senator-eight months after Election Night. In the chill of November 2008, Republican incumbent Norm Coleman led by a slim 215 votes, a margin that triggered an automatic statewide recount of more than 2.9 million ballots. Minnesota's ensuing recount, and the contentious legal and public relations battle that would play out between the Franken and Coleman lawyers and staff, simultaneously fascinated and frustrated Minnesotans and the nation-all while a filibuster-proof Senate hung in the balance.
"This Is Not Florida" is the behind-the-scenes saga of the largest, longest, and most expensive election recount in American history. Reporter Jay Weiner covered the entire recount process-for which he was honored with Minnesota's most prestigious journalism award-following every bizarre twist and turn and its many colorful personalities. Based on daily reporting as well as interviews with more than forty campaign staffers and other participants in the recount, "This Is Not Florida" dives into the motivations of key players in the drama, including the exploits of Franken's lead attorney Marc Elias, some of the mistakes made by Coleman advisers, and how the Franken team's devotion to data collection helped Franken win the recount by a mere 312 votes.
In a fascinating, blow-by-blow account of the historic recount that captivated people nationwide, Jay Weiner gets inside campaign war rooms and judges' chambers and takes the reader from the uncertainties of Election Night 2008, through the controversial State Canvassing Board and a grueling eight-week trial, to an appeal to Minnesota's Supreme Court, and finally to Al Franken's long-awaited and emotional swearing-in.
"This Is Not Florida" presents an important and unforgettable moment in political history that proved that it's never really over until it's actually over
"Weiner provides a lively play-by-play of a recount that fascinated the state, if not the nation." -The New Yorker
"Those who were pulling for Al Franken will enjoy this detailed account of how the 2008 Senate race in Minnesota and its subsequent recount contributed to the Democrats' total of 60 senators-the magic number needed to beat back a Republican filibuster. As nasty, ugly and unappealing as the battle between Franken and Norm Coleman was, watching the two sides explore every opportunity to pick up a vote or three in the post-election recount was just fascinating. No, it wasn't Florida, as the title suggests. The presidency was not at stake. And in that contest, the Democrats lost. But they won in Minnesota in the Great Recount of 2009. And if nothing else, the moral of the story is that every vote-every vote-counts." -Ken Rudin
"Weiner's lively description of the ins and outs of the recount battle will please election junkies, political scientists and political consultants." -Kirkus Reviews