Al Franken's campaign says it expects the reconciliation of withdrawn challenges next week to result in a 35-50 vote lead for Franken in the Minnesota Senate race.
"The work left for the state canvassing board to do next week - the re-allocation of withdrawn challenges - is work we have already done in our internal count, because that count has always assumed that all challenges will fail," Franken's campaign attorney Marc Elias said at a press conference Saturday. "On Tuesday, I will stand before you with that work completed. Al Franken will have a lead of between 35 and 50 votes. And, at some point not too long after that, Al Franken will stand before you as the Senator-Elect from Minnesota."
The Franken campaign's internal count before the state canvassing board began its work of reviewing challenges was based on the assumption that all challenges would fail.
Published reports currently indicate a 260 vote lead for Franken over Sen. Norm Coleman, but also suggest uncertainty as to what will happen when withdrawn challenges are re-allocated to the candidate for whom the ballots were originally called.
Coleman campaign spokesman Mark Drake spoke out against the Franken team's claim, Politico reported.
"This is just more bluster and hot air from a campaign that has been trailing for two years," Drake said. "While we can understand their need to latch onto their temporary lead, the reality is there's a long way to go in this process. We have no doubt that once this recount is fully completed, Senator Coleman will be in the lead and will be reelected to the Senate."
Franken edged ahead of Coleman on Friday for the first time in the Senate recount.
The change was notable because Coleman led Franken in election night returns and also held a 188-vote lead before the board took up challenged ballots.
Minnesota's canvassing board is expected to finish counting all the disputed ballots in the race on Tuesday.