Obama Picks Up Another Electoral Vote
Nebraska is one of the two states (along with Maine) that awards one electoral vote for
each congressional district carried plus two for the statewide winner. It now appears
NE-02 (Omaha) and picks up another electoral vote. This is the first
time since 1828 that either state has split its EVs. The mapping software wasn't set up to
color in Omaha separately, so the state will be marked in purple to indicate the red+blue split.
Nebraska Republicans have reacted to this development with
and intend to introduce legislation in 2009 to go to a winner-take-all system like 48 other states.
Although technically the (unicameral) legislature is nonpartisan, de facto, the Republicans control it and
also the governor's mansion, so they will probably succeed.
An indirect effect of Obama winning the electoral vote is to provide a solid precedent for allowing
a state to allocate its electoral votes as its state legislature determines by state law.
This issue could come up again if the
is adopted by states with 270 electoral votes. If this happens, then those states will cast all their
electoral votes for the winner of the national popular vote (not the state popular vote),
de facto eliminating the electoral college without a
constitutional amendment. Currently four states (Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, and New Jersey) have passed it.
If another dozen or so blue states were to pass it, it would come into being and there would surely be
court fights about the right of a state legislature to determine how its electoral votes were cast
(even though the constitution is pretty clear it is up to the states to choose their electors as they wish).
Having a precedent for something other than winner-take-all would strengthen that court case.
Reichert Wins in WA-08
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA) won a close House election against Darcy Burner in WA-08.
This is the second straight time Reichert has edged out Burner in a very close election in this swing
With Frank Kratovil's victory in MD-01 yesterday, the number of House races still undecided has declined
to six. They are: AK-AL, CA-04, OH-15, and VA-05 plus two seats in Louisiana (LA-02 and LA-04)
where there will be runoffs in December.
Of these undecided races, VA-05 is the closest to being resolved. Tom Perriello (D) now holds a
over Rep. Virgil Goode (R) with all the votes counted. Perriello has claimed victory but
Goode (rhymes with food), who has represented this district (which includes the fairly liberal Charlottesville) in Congress
for six terms has not conceded defeat yet. Goode is nothing if not flexible. He used to be a Democrat,
then he was an independent and is now a Republican. He also switched from being a Presbyterian to a being a
Baptist. Goode has been
in the news
repeatedly due to his
his term for the babies of illegal immigrants who are born on U.S. soil and are thus automatically U.S. citizens.
While theoretically a court could deport a woman in the country illegally and tell her to either take her baby
with her or give it up for adoption, most judges are very hesitant to separate a mother from her baby, even if
the law allows this. Goode has argued against providing government services (such as health care) for illegals
(such as the mother of the anchor baby). As Virginia has become more Democratic over the past three election
cycles, these views have become less popular and this may be the end of the road for Goode.
State of the Senate Races
Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR) has conceded, so Jeff Merkley (D) will be the new senator from Oregon.
However, three Senate races are still up in the air. The most contentious one is in Minnesota where
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) currently leads Al Franken (D) by
Coleman has asked Franken to waive the automatic recount to save the taxpayers $90,000, but Franken declined to
take up his kind offer. One peculiarity of this race is the presence of
that is ballots in
which someone voted for President but not for senator. Such ballots are perfectly legal, but it seems unusual
that someone would stand in line for a long time to vote for President but skip the extremely visible and
contentious Senate race. Some observers think that these voters may not have marked their Senate choice
darkly enough on the ballot so the optical scanners missed them. In a hand recount, some of these votes
will be picked up. Of great concern to Coleman is that 18,000 of the undervotes came from counties that
Obama carried. Probably a large fraction of these voters support the DFL (Democratic-Farmer-Labor party,
as the Democratic party is called in Minnesota) and intended to vote for Franken. A bitter fight here is
In the presidential race, McCain led Obama in Missouri by 6000 votes when the regular votes were counted,
but now they are counting the provisional ballots and absentee ballots.
The Alaska Senate race is still open, with convicted felon Ted Stevens (R-AK) leading by 4000 votes
with 70,000 absentee ballots yet to be counted. If Stevens wins, Sen. Jim De Mint (R-SC)
wants to expel
Stevens from the Senate, saying he does want any convicted felons in the GOP caucus.
If Stevens wins and is expelled, there will be a special election to fill the vacancy. The most likely
candidates would be Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) and Anchorage mayor Mark Begich (D). Given how popular Palin
still is in Alaska, she could probably win that one, giving her a national platform for four years.
The whole thing is like a big chess game.
Speaking of big chess games, another one is going on in the Senate race in Georgia. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
beat Jim Martin (D) but apparently failed to get 50% so there will be a runoff. Chambliss has already enlisted
John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, and every other big Republican gun in sight to campaign for him. He has also
started to smear Martin, as he did to Max Cleland in 2002. Barack Obama is in a bit of a bind here.
He would like an extra vote in the Senate, but if he campaigns for Martin, the press
will see this as a proxy fight between Obama and McCain. If Chambliss wins, as expected, the headlines
will read: "McCain Wins Round 2." For this reason, Obama probably won't campaign for Martin. However,
Martin might be able to get one or more Clintons to help out. And since Bill Clinton is a fellow Southerner,
that might carry some weight. Still, Chambliss is the favorite.
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