Politico: Dodd To Stay At Banking

Big scoop from Politico:

Sen. Chris Dodd is expected to remain chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, two Senate insiders told POLITICO.

Dodd is expected to make the announcement Wednesday, according to sources in Connecticut and Washington.

A decision to stay at the banking panel rather than take the gavel at the Senate would be a surprise after widespread speculation that the embattled Dodd would prefer to take the top spot at the Health, Education, Pensions and Labor committee left vacant by the late Ted Kennedy. But staying at Banking would allow Dodd to be the lead player on a major overhaul of financial regulations later this fall. With Dodd staying on Banking, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), would be next in line to take the Health committee chairmanship and guide that panel through the final negotiations on health care.

This comes as a bit of a surprise, given Dodd's friendship with Kennedy and his need for a poll-bolstering move, but it also seems like good news to me. Harkin's not a bad guy to have in charge of the labor committee; I'm caring less and less about Senate health care posturing in the hopes that the House takes the lead; and as iffy as Dodd may be at Banking, he's probably a better choice than the more conservative Tim Johnson (D-SD) would be. If Harkin does take the position, the embattled Blanche Lincoln will likely take over his role as Chair, a move that could help us keep her Arkansas seat in Democratic (if not progressive) hands.

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Tubes Stevens Unflushed

Not an April Fool's joke, unfortunately:

In a move first reported by NPR, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said he has decided to drop the case against Stevens rather than continue to defend the conviction in the face of persistent problems stemming from the actions of prosecutors.

"After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial," Holder said in a statement Wednesday. "In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial."

Don't let conservatives get away with claiming that Stevens is innocent - this decision doesn't acquit him. Holder's sending a message to prosecutors about misconduct, but that doesn't mean Stevens wasn't corrupt.

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Road to 60: Begich's Wins, per AP


The latest tally looks even better for Democrat Mark Begich than the last one.

Ted Stevens (R): 147,004 votes (46.58 percent)
Mark Begich (D): 150,728 votes (47.76 percent)

Begich's lead now stands at 1.18 percentage points, or 3,724 votes.

Update [2008-11-18 21:10:23 by Jonathan Singer]: The Associated Press has called the race for Begich. That makes seven pick ups, and 58 to 40 seat advantage for the Democrats in the Senate (with two races still yet to be decided).

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Begich doubles lead!

More numbers are coming in from Alaska, and Mark Begich has more than doubled his lead! He is now ahead by 2374 votes.

The calculations are simple: Stevens needs 65% of the remaining ballots to storm ahead... Might be technically too early to call the race, but it looks virtually impossible that Stevens could come back.

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AK-Sen, CA-04: What remains to be counted

This was cross-posted on my blog, at Campaign Diaries. There is a lot of confusion about CA-04 and AK-Sen, so this is an attempt to look at what remains to be counted. (Also posted today, a look at the impact of Obama's Cabinet appointments on the 2010 landscape.)

When the Alaska's Division of Election finally updated their totals this evening, it was once again Mark Begich who gained the most, extending his lead from 814 to 1022 votes (or 0.35%).

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