Bachmann still may be unseated with recount

Above: Bachmann watches election results at the Hilton Minneapolis-Bloomington Hotel, Tuesday, November 6. (via)

UPDATE: Just before 11 a.m., Jim Graves called Michele Bachmann to concede the 6th District Congressional race.

After President Obama’s reelection speech tucked most Americans in bed around 2:30 a.m. EST Wednesday morning, voting precincts in Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District were still counting ballots between Michele Bachmann and Democratic opponent Jim Graves. The AP called it for Bachmann, but the race may not be over.

Two hours later, Minnesota’s secretary of state announced a 178,959-vote lead for Bachmann over Graves’ 175,207 votes. With 99 percent of the precincts reported, those numbers put Newsweek’s Queen of Rage at a wide enough margin to where the state canvassing board is no longer obligated to conduct a recount. (They’ll step in if the difference between votes lands within a 0.5% margin, and Bachmann was up by 1.1% at 4 a.m.) But first-time challenger Graves still has the option to pay for one of his own, which could very well be the case.

Before nodding off to sleep, both campaigns said they’ll keep an eye on returns later in the day as it’s unclear if all absentee ballots have been received, or counted. (Plus, it’s worth mentioning their neighboring congressional district reported a slew of technical printing errors and ballot scanning issues.)

The Graves campaign reported a record turnout among young voters in the college town of St. Cloud, which was hardly expected to make a dent in the election given the congressional map was redrawn in Bachmann’s favor earlier this year. That, plus the fact that Bachmann outspent Graves 12 to 1 (totaling $20.8 million between them), no one thought this would turn into an overnight nail-biter. More to come.

[Strib/SoS MN/@Graves4Congress]