As you’ve no doubt heard by now, Mark Begich took the lead as the early votes were counted, and seven-times-indicted Ted Stevens has conceded the Alaska Senate race. That makes seven Democratic pickups, with Georgia and Minnesota yet to be determined. The Democrats hold 56 Senate seats, and two independents (Joe Lieberman and Bernie Sanders) also caucus with Democrats.
The polls in Georgia have shown Republican Saxby Chambliss ahead of Jim Martin by three or four points. It’s all going to come down to turnout—I doubt much voter persuasion will occur between now and December 2. Barack Obama moved his field staff from Ohio down to Georgia, and many other groups, like Democracy for America, are helping Martin too. The state’s largest newspaper has endorsed Martin.
Chambliss has to be favored in this red state, but if the Democrats have a superior GOTV effort, Martin could pull off an upset.
The Minnesota recount has begun. Al Franken went into it 215 votes behind Norm Coleman (out of more than 2.5 million cast, or 0.008 percent). As of Wednesday evening, he had narrowed the gap to 181 votes. The state has a good “voter intent” law, meaning that if a person can determine the voter’s intent, the vote will count even if an optical scanner did not record it.
I can’t say I feel overly confident, but this study suggests Franken may have a good chance of taking the lead during the recount.
One wrinkle is that Franken successfully sued to get information about voters whose absentee ballots were rejected in one county. His campaign wants that information for all of the counties so that wrongfully excluded absentee ballots can be counted. However, it’s not clear whether those votes will ever be counted, even if the ballots were rejected because of clerical error.
As for the House races, we narrowly lost in CA-44, a district we did not target that was not considered competitive.
CA-04 has still not been called, but Democrat Charlie Brown trails carpet-bagger Tom McClintock by about 600 votes, and it seems unlikely he will be able to make up that margin.
It looks like we will pick up VA-05, which was viewed as quite a longshot before the election.
Louisiana will hold two runoff elections in December. Corrupt Democrat “Dollar Bill” Jefferson will most likely hold the second district. The fourth district is competitive, and Dick Cheney recently headed to Shreveport to campaign for the Republican.
UPDATE: I forgot Ohio’s 15th district, which is going to count provisional ballots. It seems like Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy has a decent chance of beating Republican Steve Stivers.
Democrats will end up with something between 255 and 259 House seats out of 438. Not bad at all.