Democrat Al Franken's team said Saturday that after all challenged ballots have finally been sorted, they expect to come out on top with a 35 to 50 vote lead.
Franken currently holds a slim lead over Republican incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman in the continuing Minnesota recount — the sole U.S. Senate contest still unresolved.
Marc Elias, the Franken team's lead recount attorney, said in a press conference that the approximately 4,000 withdrawn challenges from both campaigns yet to be added to the current numbers by the state canvassing board have already been included in the campaign's internal count.
"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," Elias said.
Representatives with Secretary of State Mark Ritchie's office have said they are sorting out those withdrawn ballots this weekend and will likely have those results on Monday or Tuesday.
But the recount doesn't end there. Still to be dealt with are a thousand or more improperly rejected absentee ballots, which the Minnesota Supreme Court said this week could not be counted unless all parties involved agreed the ballot was rejected in error.
Update: The Coleman team dismissed the Franken camp's prediction. "This is just more bluster and hot air from a campaign that has been trailing for two years," said Coleman spokesman Mark Drake. "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."