ST. PAUL - In a repeat of the contentious battle for ballots between Norm Coleman and Al Franken for a Senate seat, Minnesotans have split once more.
The initial tally of votes was so close that it triggered an automatic recount. Out of some 3 million votes cast for Official State Fruit, apples win with a single vote more than oranges.
Reuben Naranja, a spokesman for the orange industry, says orange growers stand to lose millions from apples getting the prized endorsement, and says he will file for a hearing on the results before seeking a recount. The suit calls into question 4,000 votes in Johnny Appleseed's district, where many votes may have been counted twice, he says.
Granelda "Granny" Smith, a longtime apple aficionado and senior researcher at the University of Minnesota, says she's delighted with the outcome. "I guess his boys at the Navel Academy weren't much help this time!" she exclaimed with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
The orange distributors have found themselves in the unusual position of having to pack thousands of crates of oranges and ship them out of state even as the court battle is barely beginning. Naranja says he believes the court will see it his way. "I mean, come on," he says with a wry grin. "Orange you tired of apples?"