The Democrats are now at 58 seats, with the possibility of getting two more. The AP has called the race for Mark Begich in Alaska.
Convicted Sen. Ted Stevens lost his re-election bid to Democrat Mark Begich after the last large batch of votes was counted Tuesday.
The longest-serving Republican in the history of the Senate trailed Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich by 3,724 votes after Tuesday’s count.
That’s an insurmountable lead with only about 2,500 overseas ballots left to be counted.
Ted Stevens represented everything that was wrong with politics in Washington, as he steered millions of pork dollars back to Alaska. Oh, and he was also a convicted felon. It’s a disgrace that the race ws even this close, but at least he won’t be returning to the Senate. Also, we won’t have to face the potential drama of Sarah Palin appointing herself to this seat in the event that Stevens won and then was removed from the Senate.
After becoming acquainted with Sarah Palin over the past two months, we should be surprised by anything that happens in Alaska politics.
Convicted felon Ted Stevens, quite possibly the nation’s worst Senator, is currently leading his Democratic opponent, Mark Begich, by over 3,000 votes. The polls suggested that he would lose by around eight points.
According to polling guru Nate Silver, however, it might be too early to call Stevens the winner.
Although Ted Stevens holds a small lead in Alaska and is the favorite to retain his seat, the outcome is not as inevitable as it might appear to be. Stevens currently holds a lead of 3,353 votes, or about 1.5 percent of the votes tallied so far. But, there are quite a large number of ballots yet to count. According to Roll Call, these include “at least 40,000 absentee ballot, 9,000 early voting ballots, and an undetermined number of questionable ballots”.
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.”
If this holds up it brings the Democrats up to 57.
It wil be tough, but Bob Geiger thinks the Democrats can do it. One race to watch is in Georgia.
Outside of McConnell, I’m not sure there’s a Republican incumbent we would all like to see tossed out on his ass more than Saxby Chambliss. A Republican Chickenhawk in the truest sense of the word — he got a bunch of student deferments during the Vietnam war and eventually wrangled a medical deferment for a bum knee — Chambliss made it into the GOP Slimeball Hall of Fame by smearing Max Cleland beyond recognition in 2002 to gain his Senate seat.
While Chambliss was in the trenches at the University of Georgia, Cleland was fighting in Vietnam, where he was a highly-decorated combat hero who lost both legs and an arm in an explosion. That didn’t stop Chambliss from bashing Cleland’s patriotism and running ads merging the Veteran with Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein in attacks that even John McCain said were “worse than disgraceful” and “reprehensible.”
Chambliss’s opponent, Jim Martin, also a Vietnam Veteran and a longtime member of the Georgia House of Representatives, has run a good race against Chambliss and benefited from a large inflow of DSCC money.
Here’s how I think it goes down: Chambliss will win by a small amount on Tuesday but fail to hit the 50 percent mark due to the presence of Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley, who has been drawing around six percent of the vote in the most recent polling. In Georgia, no candidate getting 50 percent means a run-off election on December 2nd. My belief is that this will happen, Martin will benefit from more time, an influx of national money and help from a star-studded cast of campaign surrogates, including President-Elect Obama and will defeat Chambliss in the second vote.
Who Wins (Eventually): Jim Martin (D)
A loss by Chambliss would be poetic justice. I think Martin has a chance due to the incredible black turout so far in Georgia, but I think he needs to win it on Tuesday. If the race ends up in a runoff, Geiger thinks Martin can pull it out. I’m sleptical. I know that Obama and the national Democrats will make this race a priority, but I would be surprised if black turnout reaches the same levels in a runoff when Obama isn’t on the ballot at the top of the ticket. Many in Georgia are waiting in lines for up to eight hours in early voters. I doubt that all of them would do that again.
That’s what 56 percent of Ohioans said in a poll conducted this month by the University of Cincinnati Institute for Policy Research — and people polled in Southwest Ohio topped that figure.
In this corner of the state, 60 percent said they favored a government policy that allowed undocumented immigrants to stay in the country and become U.S. citizens if they met unspecified requirements in a certain timeframe.
That puts Ohioans in sync with the rest of the nation, according to a Gallup Poll last year, said Eric Rademacher, the institute’s interim co-director.
If you only listened to Fox News, Lou Dobbs and talk radio, you would assume that the entire nation is outraged by the conecpt of earned citizenship for illegals (which some call amnesty). Last year many in the media assumed that this issue would be crucial in the 2008 elections. Yet we don’t hear anything about it.
All of the Republican candidates who tried to exploit conservative anger about immigration flamed out in the primaries. Even one-time “moderates” like Rudy Giuliani flipped last year and tried to demogogue the issue in order to get the Republican nomination. He got crushed in the primaries.
America is getting serious again. We’re going through tough economic times, so it’s harder for politicians to distract the electorate with side issues like Bill Ayers, guns and illegals.
The next president will have a huge opportunity to pass a common-sense compromise on this issue that beefs up border security and provides a rational method for illegals to earn the right to stay in this country. The political rewards from such a compromise would be significant as well.
The polls have shifted dramatically over the past several weeks, as Republican support has fallen as a result of the financial crisis. Barack Obama has picked up support in many battleground states, but many Senate races have also become competitive.
The question remains, however, as to whether this bump can last for the next four weeks, and whether Democrats can win enough seats to hit the 60-seat threshold.
Meanwhile, VoteVets.org is back with scathing ads targeting Republican Senators who voted against providing modern body armor to all U.S. troops in Iraq. These ads were very effective in 2006, helping to unseat Senators like George Allen in Virginia. The ad below has been updated to target Elizabeth Dole, who is now behind in her North Carolina Senate race.