Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's Not Over Yet

As Kos's map shows, the senate results are not yet in.

There is a post explaining what's going on with these races that are yet to be called here. The presidential result is already determined, so the electoral college predictions are largely academic (give or take an LDV mug).

But the Senate races are important. The Democrats had hoped that they might come out of this process with a filibuster proof senate. If they are to achieve this, the four yet to be called races all have to go that way. That's a tough call on the face of it. But lets just look at those a bit closer (from the Kos posting linked above):

We're currently at 56 seats with Sanders and Lieberman. We need a clean sweep in Alaska, Georgia, Minnesota and Oregon to win.

: With 99% of precincts reported, Ted Stevens (R) leads Mark Begich (D) by 3500 votes.

There are reportedly over 60,000 absentee ballots filed, so no one has called it yet.

Georgia: Saxby Chambliss (R) leads Jim Martin (D) 50-46. However, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that over 600,000 early votes have not been counted. Martin led handily in early voting, so it's highly likely that Chambliss will end up below 50% and this will go to a runoff.

Minnesota: Norm Coleman leads by less than 600 votes now. All outstanding ballots will matter, and there's the possibility of a recount as well.

Oregon: Gordon Smith (R) leads Jeff Merkley (D) by 15,000 votes with 75% of precincts reporting. Not looking good.

So Oregon looks like a write-off, which is a shame. But even so, there is every chance of 59 Democratic caucusing Senators by the end of all this.

Minnesota could get nasty, with lawyers piling in on both sides. Al Franken is talking up his chances of changing the result:

The Associated Press uncalled the Senate race at about 9 a.m., saying they had prematurely declared Coleman the winner.

Franken said this morning that he intends to exercise his right to a recount.

He also said his campaign is investigating alleged voting irregularities at some polling places in Minneapolis, and that “a recount could change the outcome significantly.”

“Let me be clear: Our goal is to ensure that every vote is properly counted,” he said.
It will be some time before we know what happens there, with the recount not expected for some weeks.

Alaska looks, initially, bizarre. They seem to be about to re-elect a convicted felon, but as Kos point out, there are absentee ballots to be added. More importantly, even if Stevens wins, he is likely to be forced out of the Senate if his appeal fails, and that will trigger another election to fill his seat.

If Georgia fails to give Saxby Chambliss an overall majority (which looks likely), then that too will trigger another election, a runoff between the two highest voted candidates (the Rep and the Dem).

So in Alaska and Georgia, there is a significant chance for what remains of the Obama war chest to be put to good use trying to win a couple of extra senators, not to mention spending it on lawyers to help Al Franken's efforts to inch it in Minnesota.

We may not know for some time exactly what the Democrats' Senate position is going to look like. The only thing we can be sure of is that they seem likely to fall short of that all important 60 seats. Oh well.

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