Jay Weiner’s retelling of the 2008 Senate race recount puts "Minnesota Nice" to rest

Each day leading up to the April 16 announcement of the Minnesota Book Awards, we highlight one of the thirty-two finalists. Today, we feature 2011 Minnesota finalist:

This Is Not Florida: How Al Franken Won the Minnesota Senate Recount
Jay Weiner

University of Minnesota Press
Category Sponsor: Xcel Energy:

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An excerpt from This Is Not Florida: How Al Franken Won the Minnesota Senate Recount:

It made for the nation’s dirtiest and most expensive U.S Senate campaign, with nearly forty million dollars worth leading up to Election Day, and, incredibly, another twenty million dollars in recount costs afterwards. A Franken victory, plus a handful of other victories in other states, could strengthen the Democrats’ hold on the Senate. There was even a possibility that Franken would become the sixtieth Democratic senator, making the chamber filbuster-proof…

This Is Not Florida is the behind-the-scenes saga of the Al Franken and Norm Coleman 2008 U.S. Senate election recount. Based on daily reporting and interviews with campaign staffers and other participants in the recount, Weiner dives into the motivations of key players in the drama, 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.

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Jay Weiner received a Frank Premack Public Affairs Journalism Award for his coverage on the U.S. Senate recount.

Reviews:

“The epic Franken–Coleman affair made Bush v. Gore 2000 seem like a brief encounter. What the national media in DC observed through binoculars, Jay Weiner saw through a microscope. He’s written a vivid tale of legal wrangling, political maneuvering, and chutzpah told with a sportswriter’s flair that puts to rest the notion that middle American politics are dull and shows that ‘Minnesota nice’ is nothing but an outdated cliche.” – Glenn Thrush, POLITICO

“As nasty, ugly and unappealing as the battle between Al 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… The moral of the story is that every vote – every vote – counts.” – Ken Rudin, political editor for NPR in Washington, and writer for the “Political Junkie” blog

“Weiner’s lively description of the ins and outs of the recount battle will please election junkies, political scientists and political consultants.” – Kirkus Reviews

“This is an important book about an election that will be remembered for years in Minnesota history. Weiner makes an incredibly complex story very readable.” – MN Book Awards preliminary judge

Videos:

At Micawbers bookstore in St. Paul, Weiner talks about his book, “This Is Not Florida: How Al Franken Won the Minnesota Senate Recount” and the role The UpTake played in the election contest trial.

Weiner covered the 2008 Franken/Coleman election recount in-depth for MinnPost.com. During the online news site’s November 8, 2010 MinnRoast, Weiner thrilled the crowd with his humorous rap about the recount.

Book Trailer:

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Award winners will be announced at the 23rd Annual Minnesota Book Awards Gala on Saturday, April 16, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, in downtown Saint Paul. The opening reception begins at 6:30 p.m.; followed by the awards ceremony at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45 and are available by clicking here or calling 651-222-3242.

Each year in the weeks leading up to the Minnesota Book Awards gala, all Minnesotans are invited to take part in voting for the Readers’ Choice Award. Vote online now through the end of March at TwinCities.com. Please, only one vote per person.

Have you read This is Not Florida? What are your thoughts? We welcome your comments!

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