FRANKEN’S CHANCES IMPROVE…. Don’t look now, but Al Franken may very well pull out a win in Minnesota. Norm Coleman isn’t just getting nervous, he’s getting litigious.

In a move that could be seen as a benefit to Democrat Al Franken, a Minnesota judge Saturday denied a request from incumbent Republican Sen. Norm Coleman’s campaign to block certain uncounted absentee ballots from being counted in a race separated by — at latest tally — just over 200 votes in Coleman’s favor.

That slim margin has narrowed since the first tallies earlier in the week. In total, almost 3 million ballots were cast.

According to the court request, the Coleman campaign sought an “emergency temporary injunction” preventing election officials from unsealing, opening, or tallying any absentee ballots that were not inside an official ballot box by midnight election night.

A county judge in Minnesota turned down the request “for lack of jurisdiction.”

At this point, the various factors are leaning in Franken’s direction. The vote gap has narrowed considerably since Tuesday night, and given demographic considerations, a recount would likely benefit Franken far more than Coleman.

Noting the unsuccessful lawsuit, Josh Marshall noted, “I think Coleman’s crew realizes that a full recount is not going to end well for them.”

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.