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Senate candidates could take lessons from Austin

It’s a tale of two recounts.

Or, put another way, its candidates at their best, and candidates at their worst.

In Minnesota’s U.S. Senate race, Norm Coleman has asked Al Franken to step aside, renounce his rightful claim for a recount and let Coleman fly back to Washington for another six years. "Let the healing begin," Coleman said, after what we can only describe as the ugliest, dirtiest, most negative and most expensive political campaign in state history.

And then there’s Austin’s mayoral race, in which challenger Mark Nagle came up short by 39 votes in his attempt to unseat incumbent Tom Stiehm.

Nagle has requested a recount, and Stiehm’s response was along the lines of, "No problem. Go right ahead."

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Keep in mind that these two gentlemen disagree quite strongly about some key issues in Austin, especially concerning the new justice center. Still, they conducted themselves in a civil manner in the days and weeks leading up to the campaign, and neither did or said a single thing that brought negative attention to Austin.

Admittedly, putting the Senate race alongside Austin’s mayoral race isn’t quite an apples-to-apples comparison. The stakes are incredibly high in the Franken-Coleman race, and it’s of national interest.

But we would prefer to see our would-be senators showing the decency and decorum of Austin’s mayoral candidates. These men seem to understand that winning isn’t everything — it’s how you play the game that really matters.

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