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Editorial: Emmer, Dayton showed respect for process

Minnesota saw a couple of commendable political figures Wednesday as Republican Tom Emmer conceded the governor's race and Democrat Mark Dayton became the governor-elect.

Both candidates have conducted themselves honorably since election night.

Certainly, Emmer's decision was not an easy one as he faced a choice whether to pursue every option available in reviewing the governor recount process or at an appropriate point to accept the election decision. Some wanted him to pursue all challenge options at all costs. He has declined any further challenge and wished Dayton well.

Emmer followed the fine example of Republican Sen. Norm Coleman in Minnesota politics and Democrats Sen. John Kerry and Vice President Al Gore in national politics, who all have conceded at the appropriate point following a close election and sufficient vote recounts.

We commend Emmer on his decision as well as his performance in the governor's race. He started as a relatively unknown House Republican and captured the Republican Party's endorsement. He then ran an effective campaign, without too many stumbles, and finished within 8,720 votes of Dayton in a race in which few thought he had a snowball's chance this summer.

Emmer's decision showed due diligence in confirming an accurate recount as well as respect of our American democracy of respecting the voters' decision.

Dayton as well has shown appropriate respect for the Minnesota election system with his patience. In fact, he recently insisted at a national Democratic governors' meeting that he not be called the "governor-elect" of Minnesota, as it had not been confirmed.

The governor-elect correctly asked Wednesday for help from both Democrats and Republicans. He will need it.

Dayton now faces the challenge of building his new administration as the state faces a $6 billion-plus budget deficit, which is not small change, and the Republicans holding majorities in both the House and Senate. It will be a challenge as Dayton and the Republican majorities differ significantly on how to solve the budget deficit.

Minnesota needs good governance from both the new governor and the Legislature next year. Constant political fighting and its resulting gridlock will not serve Minnesota well in 2011 as tough decisions are needed to address the budget deficit and other critical issues.