Feb. 11 absentee ballot for overseas voters

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

Map of the 2010 Senate Races
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strong Dem Strong Dem (57)
weak Dem Weak Dem (0)
barely Dem Barely Dem (1)
tied Exactly tied (1)
barely GOP Barely GOP (5)
weak GOP Weak GOP (1)
strong GOP Strong GOP (35)
Map algorithm explained
Senate polls today: (None) RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): (None) GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA

PW logo Jindal Tapped to Give GOP Response Obama is a PC
Bredesen Thinks He's Out of Running for HHS Specter Vulnerable in Re-election Bid
Quinn Better Positioned Than Burris for 2010 The Partisan Fight Over Bipartisanship

News from the Votemaster

Senate Approves Stimulus Bill

The Senate approved the stimulus bill yesterday 61 to 37, with just three Republicans (Snowe, Collins, and Specter) joining all the Democrats in approving it. One seat is vacant (Minnesota) and one Republican (Judd Gregg) abstained. Now comes the hard part: reconciling the Senate and House versions. Here is a comparison of the two bills in terms of content. Here is another focusing on the money allocated for various items. Members of each chamber have sworn that they will never vote for the conference bill unless it is identical to the one their chamber passed. Probably later this week we'll see if they mean it.

Motion in Minnesota

The three-judge panel overseeing the Minnesota election contest ruled yesterday that 23 or 24 absentee ballots that were incorrectly rejected through no fault of the voter must be counted. This is out of 60 voters who sued to have their votes counted. All were Franken voters, so Al Franken will probably pick up 23-24 votes. However, Norm Coleman has introduced 4800 rejected votes he wants counted and Franken has another 700 he wants counted. Nevertheless, the ruling set a standard: votes will only be counted if they were rejected through no fault of the voter. Probably relatively few will pass this test.

Palin Will Not Attend Conservative Conference

Alaska governor Sarah Palin will not attend the Conservative Political Action Conference in D.C. later this month. Republican presidential hopefuls generally attend it, where they get to meet and try to impress conservative leaders and pundits. Palin didn't give a reason for not attending. However, one reason could be logistics. Alaska is inconveniently located for presidential politics. There are no direct commercial flights from anywhere in Alaska to D.C. From Juneau, the state capital, you have to change planes in Seattle. From Anchorage, far from Juneau but close to where Palin actually lives, you can also fly to Chicago, Salt Lake City, or Minneapolis nonstop, but you still have to change planes there. You can't get from Alaska to D.C. in less than 8 1/2 hours no matter what. Anchorage to Des Moines, IA, can't be done in less than 8 hours and Anchorage to Manchester, NH, takes 10 hours. In practical terms, every time she wants to go to some key event in D.C. or some early state, it will cost her 3 days. Contrast this with Mitt Romney, who lives in Massachusetts: he can drive to New Hampshire to campaign a couple of times a week if he wants to. Furthermore, she is a sitting governor and is expected to spend a fair amount of time in her office actually running the state. While not an insurmountable hurdle, geography does put her at a disadvantage compared to more centrally located candidates.

Election in Israel: Nobody Won

The Israeli election yesterday left the 120-seat Knesset (parliament) badly splintered. The Kadima Party, headed by a young woman (and foreign minister), Tzipi Livni, will be the largest party with 28 seats, closely followed by the right-wing Likud Party headed by former prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, with 27. New on the scene is the Israel Is Our Home Party headed by Avigdor Lieberman with 15 seats. Lieberman wants to make Arab Israelis take an oath of allegiance to the State of Israel or be stripped of their citizenship. The Labor Party, which dominated Israeli politics for decades, came in fourth, with 13 seats. Small religious parties and Arab parties got most of the remaining seats. All in all, the right-wing parties have a small majority, but putting together a coalition government won't be easy. In any event, the chances for peace in the Middle East were not improved by this election. The constant shelling of Israeli towns from Gaza followed by the Israeli attack on Gaza have taken their toll. A good source of news on the Israeli election is the Jerusalem Post.

Election Data Map Available

Ducky Sherwood has produced a nice Website, maps.webfoot.com/demos/election2008 in which you can overlay a county-level map of the U.S. with different kinds of data (e.g., 2008 votes by county, demographic data, etc.). Fun for data freaks to play with. A particularly enlightening choice is "2008 vs. 2004". Be sure to click "Refresh layers" after changing the data to be displayed.

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-- The Votemaster

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