Call it post-Election withdrawal. There is something unsettling about the first few days after an election, when political junkies realize that the simplest acts of their daily routine have become meaningless. There is no tracking poll by Research 2000 to wake up to, nor any reason to refresh Gallup.com at 1pm. Wednesday afternoons will not bring us the latest CNN/Time delivery, nor will Monday evenings be the occasion of a Rasmussen extravaganza. We will have no new campaign ad to dissect for months, nor will we excitedly react to the DCCC’s latest Tuesday night expenditures. And looming on the horizon are no debates, infomercials, town halls and Election Nights.
Thankfully, there still are a dozen uncalled congressional races - including some looming recounts and a few runoffs. This will certainly not provide the same level of excitement as we lived over the past month, but hopefully enough to satisfy some of our thirst for electoral drama.
Here is a run-through of the 4 remaining Senate races (Democrats have picked-up 5 already, while incumbents have survived in KY, LA and MS):
- Alaska: This is simply incredible. Just 8 days after being convicted on 7 felony charges, Ted Stevens is not only alive - but he is ahead! With nearly all precincts reporting, he leads 48% to 46,5%, a difference of about 3,500 votes. However, 40,000 absentee ballots have to be counted, which is obviously a significant number that could change a lot in the race. In typical Alaska fashion (remember the Young-Parnell primary?), counting those absentee ballots is not likely to start for a few days and could take a few weeks.
- Georgia: Chambliss looked set to pass 50% throughout the night, but as African-American neighborhoods reported less his percentage dwindled down and as thousands of previously unreported early votes were accounted for. The totals now have Chambliss ahead at 49.8%, with Jim Martin at 47%. The Atlanta Journal Constitution and the AP have called a runoff, which would take place on December 2nd and surely become a heated multi-million battle.
- Minnesota: As many had predicted, the Coleman-Franken dogfight has turned into the tightest Senate race in the country - perhaps even the tightest congressional contest. Coleman and Franken traded leads throughout the night - every few minutes, even, around 4am as the last precincts were reporting. Now, Coleman - who has declared victory - is holding on by the tiniest of margins (less than 500 votes) with some provisional ballots evidently still being counted and some counties adjusting their totals. The race appears set to go to a recount, which might not be resolved until December! For now, the advantage goes to Coleman.
- Oregon: Republican Senator Gordon Smith is holding on to a 9,000 vote lead with 77% of estimated votes counted. However, only about half of Multnomah County (Portland)’s estimates votes have been counted, and Merkley is likely to gain tens of thousands more votes there than his opponent. Given where the outstanding votes are slated to come from, Merkley is still favored to come out ahead (Blue Oregon is following the results with great detail).
At the House level, Democrats have already picked-up a net 19 seats and all of their seats have been called, so the 8 remaining races are all on Republican turf:
- AK-AL: Truly stunning. Republican Rep. Don Young is leading 52% to 44% though with 40,000 absentee left to count the AP is holding off a call. Young seemed to be the most vulnerable of all Republican incumbents, but Alaska once again proved to be a tough state for Democrats to win in. If Young pulls it off - and it looks like he will - this will go down as the biggest upsets of the 2008 cycle.
- CA-04: Two years after losing a close race to Rep. Doolittle, Democrat Charlie Brown is trailing by just 400 votes against Republican candidate McClintock. There are many absentee ballots left to be counted, however, and we will probably not know the result for a while.
- LA-04 and LA-07: In these two districts, the election yesterday was only a primary. The general election will be held in early December. The former is a toss-up, the latter leans Republican.
- MD-01: With all precincts reporting, Democratic candidate Kratovil has a 915 vote lead in this conservative open seat. There are about 32,000 absentee ballots to be counted, so this could go either way.
- OH-15: Mary Joe Kilroy is in the same situation she was in two years ago. She was expected to beat GOP Rep. Pryce, trailed by 3,000 on Election Night and cut that led by half after provisional ballots were counted. Now, Kilroy was expected to beat GOP candidate Stivers but she fell so far behind on Election Night that the AP and CNN called the race for her opponent. The race was later uncalled. It’s unclear what is going on at the moment. CNN has Stivers leading by 12,000 while other outlets have a 321 vote margin… If the race is tight, it will likely not be decided for more than a week as there are many provisional and absentee ballots that will have to be counted.
- VA-05: Tom Perriello led through the night against Republican Rep. Goode in what would have been the biggest Democratic upset of the night but the margin tightened today - Goode even took a 400 vote lead for a few hours. In the latest reporting, Perriello is back on top by 81 votes (!). There are still provisional ballots to be counted, and this is sure to go to a recount.
- WA-08: Only 41% of the district is reporting, making it difficult to know what is going on between Rep. Dave Reichert and Democratic challenger Darcy Burner. Reichert has a 1,500 lead now, but this has a long way to go.
All gubernatorial races have been called - yes, even the Greoire-Rossi match-up! Neither Prop 8 nor Prop 4 have officially been called by the AP or by CNN as millions of absentee votes might still remain, but there is no question that the road looks tough for gay rights advocates.
At the presidential level, Missouri has been called for McCain by some outlets but not others, while Obama maintains a narrow lead in North Carolina which has also not been called. Also up in the air is NE-02’s electoral votes, as we await further counting.