Political MoJo

Quarter of Montana Voters Cast Absentee Ballots

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:54 AM EST

With McCaskill getting the call, it's down to two.

But we may have to wait a while to know how things go in Montana. According to the Hotline, Montana's Secretary of State reported that 106,000 voters cast their ballots early or by absentee, that's well over a quarter of the expected votes in the large, sparsely populated Big Sky state. Absentees always make for slower counting (read: by hand), which means we likely won't know if Tester/the Dems get this key seat until midday tomorrow, at the earliest.

And if a recount is on the horizon in Virginia it'll be a lot longer than that.

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Will the Democrats Win the Senate? The Bookies Have Spoken!

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:42 AM EST

Forget the pundits, the Huffington Post has linked to tradesports.com,  timeAndSalesChart.gif  which is taking bets on election 2006. This is how it works: the Republican Party is like a stock. You can buy in whenever you want. If the GOP takes the senate, the stock hits 100 and you get paid. If the GOP loses the senate, the stock hits zero (but hey, maybe you'll make your money back once the Democrats turn the economy around).

So what's the GOP Senate prospect trading at? Well, in the days leading up to the election it was hovering around 70. Now it's at. . . . 13.5.

My bet's that the Democrats take the Senate.

Stem Cell Initiative Too Close to Call; Regardless, Seats Gained Won't be Enough to Override Bush's Veto

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:32 AM EST

Still too soon to tell on Missouri's stem cell initiative, which is trailing in early returns (perhaps as goes McCaskill, so go stem cells?), but the Chronicle of Higher Education today posed this interesting what-if take on the bigger picture, getting federal support for embryonic stem cell research. The Chron asked: If Democrats won every single election up for grabs today, would there be enough pro-stem-cell members of Congress to overturn President Bush's veto on federal financing for research on new lines of embryonic stem cells?

Their analysis says no. A two-thirds majority of both chambers of Congress is needed to override a presidential veto and there was plenty of bipartisan support for the override. But even given the cross-aisle sentiments that support stem-cell research, the Chronicle analysis concludes that the voting records of candidates show that there simply aren't enough pro-stem-cell bodies to make the two-thirds overriding majority.

Looks like we need a change bigger than a new Congress to see stem cell research progress. Together now: two years and counting.

Rumor of the Night: Rummy To Go?

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:30 AM EST

I'm loathe to repeat unsubstantiated rumors, especially ones that come from the Comedy Central blog. But the cable station where more young Americans get their news is saying that Rumsfeld is now definitely a goner come tomorrow. Hey, they even have double sourcing—some blogger and Bill Kristol. Let me check my Magic 8 Ball and we may have definitive confirmation...

Harold Ford Concedes, In A Stunningly Good Speech

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:26 AM EST

He's lost this round, but anyone who heard this speech knows he'll be back. It's hard to reiterate parts of your stump speech and make it seem profound, moving, and gracious, but that's just what he did.

CA Update: Pombo Race Close; Dream On, San Fran!

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:16 AM EST

Early updates from the Golden State: Pombo barely ahead of McNerny, 50.7 to 49.3—too early for either to qualify for endangered species protection. Pombo-sponsored anti-environmental "eminent domain" prop is up 50.8 to 49.2 with 19% of precincts in.

Meanwhile, 59% of San Franciscans have voted for a city policy calling for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney. Wanna take bets on how long it takes for some savvy GOPer to use this as an example of the new Congress' "San Francisco values"?

Update: The Pombo-McNerny numbers were flipped. Advantage: treehugger.

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Webb Names Himself the Winner

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 1:13 AM EST

In a pretty gutsy move, Jim Webb just went on TV and announced that he won the Virginia senate race. Considering that everyone is saying a recount is imminent, and charges of voting irregularities are likely forthcoming, perhaps Mr. Webb is a bit premature. But, hey, good for him.

George Allen, for the record, went on TV earlier and said that the vote would continue into tomorrow.

Mother Jones ran a cover story on this race earlier today.

Allen Says Count Will Go All Night. And Virginia, County By County

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 12:36 AM EST

Allen says "stay strong for freedom and representational democracy." Which means he's trailing, but wanted to get some coverage before it gets too late.

CNN has the county by county breakdown. In Dem-leaning or swing counties —like Arlington and Fairfax in the first case, and Loudon in the latter)—a fair number of votes (say 7-10%) have yet to be counted.

CBS Calls Tennessee Senate Race for GOP

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 12:28 AM EST

Go here. If true, the Dems would need to win Virginia, Missouri, and Montana to gain a majority.

Looking to 2008: This Year's Secretary of State Races (Who will Replace Ken Blackwell?)

| Wed Nov. 8, 2006 12:25 AM EST

Democrat Jennifer Brunner is solidly ahead of Republican Greg Hartmann in the race to fill the secretary of state job vacated in Ohio by (failed gubernatorial bidder) Ken Blackwell, who orchestrated the 2004 presidential election scandal in the nation's most important swing state. Across the country, returns are arriving for sec state races that could help decide whether Democrats get a fair shake in a tight 2008 presidential election race.

In general, Democrats in hotly contested swing states are running strong. Minnesota Democrat Mark Ritchie solidly leads incumbent Mary Kiffmeyer, who famously attempted to prevent absentee voters from changing their ballots after Sen. Paul Wellstone died that year in a plane crash. Nevada Democrat Ross Miller is ahead 11 points in (very early) returns against Danny Tarkanian, who wants to make voter-ID legislation his "first priority as secretary of state."

The bloodiest fights for Democrats are in the mountain West. Ken Gordon trails his opponent by roughly 100,000 votes in Colorado—a surprise in a race that had recently polled as a dead heat. In New Mexico—a swing state that went for Bush in 2004 by a margin of.79 percent--Democrat Mary Herrera leads Vickie Perea by two points.

For an analysis of how a new group, the Secretary of State Project, helped swing these races, see my Mother Jones story here.