Those Other Pesky Senate Races
by Todd Beeton, Wed Nov 05, 2008 at 10:16:19 AM EST
First the good...
OR-Sen I'm told that ultimately Jeff Merkley is likely to pull ahead of Gordon Smith for the win in Oregon. Currently, with 70% reporting, Smith is ahead by fewer than 7,000 votes and the bulk of the outstanding votes (almost 300,000) come from Merkley country: Lane and Multnomah Counties, which so far have gone for Merkley 56-37 and 70-26 respectively. The counting likely won't be done until late tomorrow or Friday.
Next the annoying...
MN-Sen According to MSNBC, Al Franken is behind by
571 690 votes thus triggering an automatic recount (by law, there is a recount if the margin is under .5%; Coleman is ahead by less than .03%.) Norm Coleman, predictably, has declared victory but Franken is not conceding.
"We won't know for a little while who won the race, but at the end of the day we will know the voice of the electorate is clearly heard," Franken said. "This has been a long campaign, but it is going to be a little longer before we have a winner."
Franken said his campaign was already looking into reports of irregularities in Minneapolis where some voters had trouble registering, though he wouldn't elaborate.
The recount won't begin until mid-November and will stretch well into December. This race is not over. Remember the Washington Governor's race when pre-recount, Dino Rossi was ahead of Christine Gregoire by a few hundred votes; Gregoire was just re-elected Governor by an 8% margin.
And finally, the ridiculous...
With all but three of Alaska's 438 precincts reporting, the Republican Stevens held a 1.5 percent vote advantage over Democrat Begich -- 48 percent to 46.5 percent. About 4,000 votes separate the candidates. The thin margin means the Senate race might not be decided for two weeks.
Still to be counted are roughly 40,000 absentee ballots, with more expected to arrive in the mail, as well as 9,000 uncounted early votes and thousands of questioned ballots. The state Elections Division has up to 15 days after the election to tally all the remaining ballots before finalizing the count.
It appears that if Stevens does end up winning, he will either resign from the Senate or be expelled, which will allow Sarah Palin the opportunity to appoint someone as interim Senator (herself, perhaps?) until a special election can be held. Presumably, Mark Begich would run in that election against whomever she appoints. I got the sense that Begich didn't really run AGAINST Stevens, especially his corruption; I hope if he doesn't win this outright that he will be more aggressive in the special, whoever it is he'll be running against.
Overall, it looks like we really let our guard down on these races. I knew Fanken would be tight but I didn't see the tightening in the other two coming. Clearly Alaska is a special case, since Palin was on the ticket, but even here in California, we've had some real downballot disappointment. Obama simply did not have the coattails we expected. It looks like many people who voted for Obama either stopped at the top or split the ticket. Is this a testament to McCain's last minute fear-mongering about single party rule or Obama's failure to more completely discredit the Republican Party and brand the Democratic Party as the party of change? Or perhaps Barack was enough change for people. For all the talk of an anti-incumbent mood, it just didn't happen, or at least it happened to a far lesser extent than most expected. On this morning after, with the elation of an imminent Obama presidency comes some definite disappointments. That said, we should remember that these results are not written in stone quite yet.