Road to 60: Merkley Makes Fundraising Pitch for Martin

Jeff Merkley, who last week defeated incumbent Republican Senator Gordon Smith in Oregon, has become the first newly elected Senator to use his campaign's email list to fundraise for Jim Martin in Georgia, a source involved in Democratic politics informs me. Here's a good chunk of the email, which I received from the Merkley campaign under the Senator-elect's name earlier this morning.

While the election is over in Oregon, it continues in Georgia. Jim Martin is locked in a tough runoff with Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss. We currently hold 57 seats in the U.S. Senate - just three shy of having enough votes to end the Republican obstructionism that has paralyzed the Senate over the past two years.  We need to have Jim Martin in the Senate to work with President-elect Obama and me to fix our economy and make Washington work for working Americans.

Help Jim Martin so he can join me in the U.S. Senate --  donate $25, $50, or $100 to his campaign right now.

Let me tell you a little more about Jim Martin: Jim is a Vietnam veteran who served in the Georgia House of Representatives for 18 years.  He has been a leader on the issue of health care and has paid particular attention to expanding access to health care for Georgia's children.  Jim Martin has never backed down from a tough fight and we need someone with his courage and compassion in the U.S. Senate.

I urge each and every one of you to join me in supporting Jim Martin's campaign.

If this is any indication of the type of Senator Merkley will be -- and I do believe it is -- then you can see why it was so important to us at MyDD to add him (as well as Martin) to the Road to 60 Act Blue page.

Merkley is a team-builder. I have seen this first-hand, with the then Oregon House Democratic leader helping his caucus pick up the majority for the first time in 16 years back in 2006. As a part of that effort, Merkley was more than willing to assist the clear underdog campaign I was working on that fall to unseat the then-House Majority Leader Wayne Scott, doing an event in the district and generally being helpful to the campaign.

Now, just a week and a half out from winning a close Senate election, Merkley is already putting his resources to bear to help his caucus and his party, fundraising for Martin in Georgia. Very impressive, indeed. If you, too, want to help out, head over to the Road to 60 page and make a contribution of your own to the cause.

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OR-Sen: Jeff Merkley The Projected Winner

Sarah Lane in the diaries brings the good news. The Oregonian has called the Senate race for Jeff Merkley:

Democrat Jeff Merkley has ousted Republican Gordon Smith from his U.S. Senate seat, The Oregonian projects.

Merkley, a five-term state lawmaker and former Habitat for Humanity director, took advantage of a surge of Democratic support to win a close, bitterly fought battle with Smith, who has served 12 years in Washington.

Neither candidate, however was willing to rule the race over until more votes are tallied.

"More good news," said Matt Canter, spokesman for Merkley, "but we'll just continue to watch the ballots come in and wait to claim victory."

Smith's campaign argued vigorously that the race isn't over. The projection is based on a mathematical analysis of the remaining 340,000 votes still being counted out of a total 1.8 million vote cast statewide.

Congratulations, Senator-elect Merkley! A worthy victor and a great addition to President-elect Obama's majority. (Saying "President-elect Obama never gets old, does it?)

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Hi there MYDD readers! I'm here at Merkley Headquarters and I just wanted to give you an update on the state of the Oregon Senate race. We are feeling very good about the election right now, and I want to tell you why. UPDATE: Oregonian calls it for Merkley Follow me below the fold....

Full disclosure, I am the netroots director for OR-Sen candidate Jeff Merkley

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Those Other Pesky Senate Races

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...

AK-Sen Yes, Ted Stevens...the convicted Senator from currently ahead of Democrat Mark Begich. With 99% precincts reporting, Begich is behind by around 4,000 votes. So, what happens now?

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.

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More Senate Results Thread


OR-Sen(70% reporting)

Jeff Merkley 47
Gordon Smith 47

Smith is up 3,581 votes.

AK-Sen (66% reporting)

Ted Stevens 48
Mark Begich 46

Stevens is up 3,984 votes. WTF? I wonder if the prospect of Stevens resigning if he wins and Palin running in the special to replace him is helping him. Also, I suspect there may have been some serious 1 party rule anxiety. Franken and Merkley are way underperforming Obama.

Update [2008-11-5 3:0:16 by Todd Beeton]:Begich is closing a bit. Still looks winnable although I don't know what precincts have yet to report. But Smith is now up.

Update [2008-11-5 4:25:1 by Todd Beeton]:Merkley has some favorable counties still yet to report. This Alaska mess is a big question mark. Anyone care to give some guidance?

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