Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Still Up in the Air

Well, I finally called it quits about 2:20 last night when it was clear McCaskill had the lead and I realized that they were counting precincts in Montana at about the rate of 1 an hour; that didn't stop me from waking up a couple of times to check, only to find out this morning that they are still counting, and Tester has a razor-thin lead over Burns. Combine that with Webb's 8,000 vote lead over Allen, and things are still quite unresolved at this point in the morning. I'll say this though: in a contested race, better to be in the lead. So it's likely there'll be a recount in VA; what would trigger a recount in Montana?

If a statewide candidate wins by less than .25 percent (one-fourth of 1 percent) of the total votes cast for that position and that candidate files a petition with the secretary of state's office within five days after the official canvas.

If the board of canvassers calls for a recount. If during the canvas the board finds an error (in any one precinct or precincts) affecting the accuracy of vote totals, the board may immediately petition for a recount of the votes cast in that precinct or precincts, or for an inspection of ballots.

If there is a tie vote.

If a statewide candidate wins by more than .25 percent and less than .5 percent and files a petition with the secretary of state's office, and posts a bond with the local county clerk and recorder sufficient to pay for the recount.

If an unsuccessful statewide candidate applies to the district court in which the candidate resides within five days after the official canvas, and in that application specifies the grounds for a recount, and the judge finds that there is probable cause to believe votes may have been miscounted, the court can order a recount.

Or (as near as I can tell) there's no automatic recount as in Virginia. Instead Burns would have to convince a judge that there's some good reason to recount, or there is some error found in the initial count that would affect the accuracy of the race. I'm not sure if the closeness of the vote is enough for the former; it would depend on local law, which I'll do some looking into as best I can. Given Tester's very slim lead, it's possible that a recount could throw it in favor of Burns. It's just way too early to say.

Nonetheless, it appears that though Allen is entitled to a recount in Virginia, Webb's lead is probably insurmountable unless there are some major inconsistencies revealed in the voting. I think it's safe to say at this point that even though it may be weeks before we know for sure, the Democrats have at least locked up a tie in the Senate, and probably will have a 1-seat majority.

As I mentioned before, things went very, very well for Democrats in Dallas County last night:
Out of some 50 judicial races, Republicans won only 11 seats -- because they ran unopposed.

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Democrat Craig Watkins took 51 percent (195,037 votes) to beat Republican Toby Shook, who garnered 49 percent (188,119 votes).

This reflects recent demographic trends and it doesn't bode well for Republicans in 2008; Dallas is well on it's way to becoming a majority-minority county that is hostile to Republicans.

Democrats also did well in the governor's races (though no victory here in Texas):
Democrats won open governor’s seats in five states Tuesday and knocked off the Republican incumbent in Maryland, tilting control of the majority of governorships to Democrats for the first time since the 1990s.

Democrats also took control of a majority of state legislatures:

Democrats gained a decisive edge in state legislatures around the country, riding voter discontent with national Republican leadership to take control of a number of chambers and solidify their hold on others.

From New Hampshire to Michigan and, if early results hold, Oregon, Democratic candidates scored victories that positioned them to take the legislative helm. The results, while not complete, will give Democratic lawmakers the gains needed to shape state policy agendas and play a key role in drawing Congressional districts.

Can you say...redistricting?

As for the big picture:

For six years, Mr. Bush has often governed, and almost always campaigned, with his attention focused on his conservative base. But yesterday’s voting showed the limits of those politics, as practiced — and many thought perfected — by Mr. Bush and his chief political adviser, Karl Rove.

In the bellwether states of Ohio and Pennsylvania, two Republican senators, both members of the legendary freshman class of 1994, were defeated by large margins. Across the Northeast, Republican moderates were barely surviving or, like Senator Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, falling to Democrats who had argued that they were simply too close to a conservative president.

Most critically, perhaps, Republicans lost the political center on the Iraq war, according to national exit polls. Voters who identified hemselves as independents broke strongly for the Democrats, the exit polls showed, as did those who described themselves as moderates.

I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that impatience/frustration/disgust with the Bush-lead Republican Party percolated all the way down to very local races. It's been a tough year to be a Republican. But it still amazes me that it had such a dramatic impact, giving the House, probably the Senate, the majority of state governships and legislatures, and even many local races, to the Democrats. Bush thought his bare win in 2004 was a mandate; I find myself wondering this morning what he thinks of this "moment of acocuntability."

Update I: Anti-judiciary provisions in two states also failed.

Update II: Not only did the mid-terms signify the repudiation of Bush policies by voters, it also signifies the collapse of the Bush political strategy of playing soley to the base (via War & Piece). In a related piece (also via War & Piece), it appears the likes of Norquist are arguing that Republicans should eschew bi-partisanship and amazingly, he argues for an executive order to further his anti-tax fueled pipe dreams (changing how capital gains are calculated? Seriously?) That's fine with me; two more years of that, and a Democratic President is considerably more likely.

Update III: Tester has pulled ahead by 3,128. Given the small size of the voting population, I don't know how they can't call that for him before long absent some showing of voting irregularities. Also, Webb maintains an 8,000 vote lead on Allen; a recount is almost certain, but that's very nearly insurmountable absent major vote fraud or error. Also, one more note on pandering to the base:
Hispanics, a group Bush has reached out to since his days as governor of Texas, voted nearly 3-1 for Democrats. In 2004, Republicans won 44% of the votes cast by Hispanics, the nation's fastest-growing ethnic group. GOP candidates received just 29% of their votes Tuesday. That could reflect a reaction to efforts by Republicans, especially in the House, to crack down on illegal immigration. Last month, Bush signed legislation to build a 700-mile-long fence along the U.S.-Mexican border.

Last night you saw how well that worked out for the Republicans.


copy editor said...

I wonder what the Decider is saying now.

Xanthippas said...

I believe it is "well shit."