Washington Matters


Obama Picks Up Another Electoral Vote


In a semi-surprise, President-elect Barack Obama has picked up one of usually-all-red Nebraska's four electoral votes. Nebraska and Maine are the only states that divide electoral votes by congressional district and the almost-final count shows Obama winning the 2nd congressional district, which includes Omaha and its suburbs. That leaves only Missouri as undeclared, although some networks have given its 11 electoral votes to John McCain. If that holds, the final count is likely to be 365 for Obama and 173 for McCain.

There are still three undecided Senate races. In Georgia, there will be a runoff because incumbent Republican Saxby Chambliss fell just shy of the 50% needed to win outright. He's likely to prevail in the runoff. And a recount is on tap in Minnesota, where incumbent GOP Sen. Norm Coleman is just a couple hundred votes ahead of Al Franken. A final result may be a month away.

Alaska is also undecided, and all of a sudden Sen. Ted Stevens is looking a little shakier. While still ahead by 3200 votes, there's reason to think the uncounted early and absentee ballots will go against him. Among the early votes that have been counted, Democrat Mark Begitch won 61%, considerably higher than the 48% he got of ballots cast on Election Day. More than 9,000 early votes have yet to be tabulated.

Democrats now claim 57 of the 100 seats in the Senate, while Republicans have 40. In addition to the three to be decided, there's the question of independent Democrat Joe Lieberman. There's a fair chance that he may bolt and join Republicans, now that Democrats have told him his punishment for supporting McCain will be the loss of his chairmanship of the Homeland Security Committee.

In the House, Democrats picked up at least 20 seats, giving them 255 to the Republicans 175, with five races still to be decided




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