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Senate Dem 58   GOP 41   Ties 1
House Dem 257   GOP 178  

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PW logo Court Declares Franken the Winner Most Americans Disagree with Cheney
Quote of the Day Battle Over NY-20 Absentee Ballots Escalates
Ford Will Not Run for Tennessee Governor Moore Mulls Another Bid in Alabama

News from the Votemaster

Franken Wins Minnesota Senate Race     Permalink

The three-judge panel overseeing the Minnesota Senate election contest has unanimously ruled that the November 4th election was run correctly and impartially and that Democrat Al Franken got the most legal votes and should be seated in the United States Senate. Franken got 312 votes more than Republican Norm Coleman. Although Coleman, who was ahead on election night, then asked Franken to concede for the good of the people of Minnesota, it is expected that he will not concede. Instead he will probably appeal to the Minnesota Supreme Court. If he loses that case, he may appeal to the federal courts. Of course, dragging this case out longer will make him look like a sore loser and may hurt him in any future run for public office. So he has to balance the Republican Party's desire to avoid seating Al Franken at all costs vs. his own potential future, as, say, a gubernatorial candidate.

Legal experts who have read the court's decision say that it discusses the points Coleman will have to make in his appeal and rebuts them convincingly. See, for example, a posting by election law specialist, Prof. Rick. Hasen. Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that no attempt will be made to seat Franken until after the Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled on the case (or Coleman concedes).

This case has now dragged on for 5 months. In a metaphysical way, one might ask if the courts are a better place to determine the winner of elections than the state elections boards, whose mission that is. Probably a good case could be made to have elections end when the duly authorized election authority has declared a winner. Those people probably know the election law (as well as the facts) better than any judge. While it is tough to lose an election by less than 0.1%, somebody has to win and somebody has to lose and there is little reason to believe that judges can make this determination better than the election authority.

Murphy Has a 25-Vote Lead in NY-20     Permalink

Another election almost assuredly heading for court is the special election in NY-20 to fill the seat vacated by Kirsten Gillibrand when she was appointed senator. Currently Democrat Scott Murphy leads Republican Jim Tedisco by 25 votes, with thousands of absentee ballots yet to be counted. Like the Minnesota race, this one could also drag on for months.

Permalinks Now Added to News Items     Permalink

Due to popular request, a permalink will be added to each news item from now on. If you are a blogger and want to link to a news item, just click on its permalink to get the permanent URL.

Final Batch of Governor's Races     Permalink

Our survey of the 2009/2010 governors' races comes to an end today with the Pacific Coast races. A link to the complete collection of them is now on the menu below the map. Individual Senate, House, and Governors races will be updated when there is a significant change in any of them.


Incumbent Challenger Notes
Sarah Palin

no D

Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) is almost assuredly eyeing a presidential run in 2012. For her, the question is she better off (1) being governor, (2) being senator, or (3) none of the above. If she decides that being governor is best, all she has to do it run. She'll win easily. The disadvantage of running as governor is that she is far from Iowa and even farther from New Hampshire. Makes it hard to campaign. If she wanted to be senator, she would have to beat Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in what would be a nasty primary, but she has already ruled that out.


Challenger Challenger Notes
no D

no R

Open seat. Term-limited Gov. Ted Kulongski (R-OR) won't be on the ballot in 2010, but the Democrats have no shortage of candidates, including Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, Rep. Peter DeFazio, and state Senate President Peter Courtney. The Republicans have few feasible candidates here. Obama won the state in a landslide and an incumbent Republican senator was sent packing, so even without knowing the candidates, it is clear the Democrat has the edge.


Challenger Challenger Notes
no R

no D

Open seat. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) is term limited so the biggest prize of all in terms of possibilities to gerrymander House districts is up for grabs. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) ran for governor in 1990 and lost but if she tries again she'll probably win. The Republicans have nobody to go up against her. If she opts out, it gets murkier. Jerry Brown (D), son of a former governor, who himself has already served two terms as governor, has hinted he may run again. But so have Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D), San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom (D), and a star-studded cast of extras. On the Republican side, the main candidates seem to be Meg Whitman, a former CEO of eBay and the state insurance commissioner, Steve Poizner. Given the Democratic lean of the state, both of these would be swimming upstream against any of the leading Democrats, but especially against Feinstein.


Challenger Challenger Notes
no R

no D

Open seat. While it is hard for Republicans to win anything in Hawaii, term-limited Gov. Linda Lingle (R-HI) managed to pull it off twice. But she will be a tough act for another Republican to follow in this very blue state. Lt. Gov. James Aiona (R-HI) will try, but the odds favor one of the Democrats, which include Rep. Niel Abercrombie, former representative Ed. Case, Honolulu mayor Mufi Hannemann and various state legislators.

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