Begich Leads Stevens By 2,374 Votes

[ Posted Tuesday, November 18th, 2008 – 17:59 UTC ]

At 12:39 PM (Alaska time) Democratic challenger Mark Begich led the incumbent (and convicted felon) Senator Ted Stevens by 2,374 votes -- an improvement of over 1,300 votes in today's tally. By my thumbnail estimates, there appear to be just over 10,000 ballots left to count, meaning that Stevens' defeat seems likely at this point.

Today was the day when the final 25,000 votes were supposed to be counted by the state of Alaska. Again, just from my off-the-cuff figuring, it appears that around 14,000 of these ballots have now been entered into the totals for both Begich and Stevens. Meaning Begich increased his lead by a net 1,300, out of just 14,000 votes cast. And from what I hear, the remaining votes to be tallied today come from two districts where Begich either ran even on election day, or had a strong lead over Stevens. Meaning it would be something of a shock now if Stevens reverses the trend to hang onto his seat.

Ever since the mail-in ballots and questioned ballots began to be counted, Begich has steadily picked up votes. He started 3,200 votes behind Stevens... which shrank to 1,000 behind... then Begich pulled ahead by only three votes... then up by 800 votes... and finally (last week) increasing that lead to over 1,000. With today's figures added in, Begich has picked up over 5,500 votes since the post-election counting began, which is even more impressive when you consider that only about 310,000-320,000 people voted in Alaska.

Which means, if Begich does win, that Democrats can now claim 58 votes in the Senate (56 plus the two independents). Two races remain to be decided -- Al Franken's cliffhanger race against Norm Coleman, and the runoff election in Georgia where Republican Saxby Chambliss is fighting to hold onto his seat. Meaning a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority is still within reach for Democrats.

I've been to some right-wing websites since the election (out of sheer curiosity), and Stevens is being excoriated with language usually reserved for liberals. Because they have figured out that if Stevens loses, then they are going to lose yet another Republican Senate seat, and as far as they're concerned, it didn't have to be this way. If Stevens had stepped down before the election, their reasoning goes, Sarah Palin would have been able to appoint a Republican replacement, who could then have run as an incumbent (and who likely would have beaten Begich). I can't say that I fault the logic of this scenario, but I will refrain from repeating the strongly-felt language they are using to describe it.

My guess is that Ted Stevens honestly never really expected he would lose. He has been the Senator from Alaska since before they became a state. It was probably inconceivable to him that any Democrat could have beaten him, felony conviction or no felony conviction. In other words, a simple case of "pride goeth before a fall."

In the next few hours, the final vote count should be posted. But it's looking like it's going to be a good night for Alaskan Democrats in general, and Mark Begich in particular.


[Note: No word yet on the other election results that were supposed to be posted today, the finalization of Missouri's presidential vote count. Maybe later tonight....]


-- Chris Weigant


5 Comments on “Begich Leads Stevens By 2,374 Votes”

  1. [1] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Thanks for the updates...and stay away from those right-wing websites!

  2. [2] 
    Osborne Ink wrote:

    My paranoia is kicking in. I'm convinced there is a conspiracy to keep Missouri's EC votes undecided, the Senate count uncertain, and the Detroit Lions winless until Christmas.

    And Chris: I'm on a tear about Saxby Chambliss. He's got the worst voting record on vets issues, and he got in by smearing a disabled vet. Any discussion of that race is of intense interest.

  3. [3] 
    Chris Weigant wrote:

    Elizabeth -

    I try not to, but sometimes they just pull me in with their lunacy...

    Osborne Ink -

    While the rest of it will likely be resolved, it may just be the Lions' "True Fate" this year, sorry.



  4. [4] 
    Michale wrote:

    For the HuffPo effecianados amongst us, I ran a little experiment over at HuffPo using Shannyn Moore's HuffPo postings.

    For a little background, Ms Moore is an Alaska resident who has been following the Senate race. She has posted several commentaries over at HuffPo about how the alleged fraud of the race..

    The gist of my experiment was to demonstrate (as I am wont to do) the overall hypocrisy of the posters over there.

    When Ms Moore was posting her allegations and fraud and such, Stevens was ahead in the Senate race. Her commentaries (two of them) garnered hundreds of comments within the first 8-12 hours. Her first commentary garnered 475 comments and her second commentary garnered 123 comments.

    Yesterday, Ms Moore posted a commentary to the effect that, even though Stevens is ahead, there STILL must be an accurate accounting of ALL the votes, regardless of who they are for or who is ahead in the race.

    While I applauded Ms Moore for her integrity, I made the prediction that, since Stevens was now behind, no one at HuffPo would really care if the votes are counted or not.. This lack of interest would be indicated by the number of comments Ms Moore commentary generated..

    24 hours later, Ms Moore's post had 23 comments..

    The inference is crystal clear....

    For those of you who wish to read all three of the commentaries by Ms Moore, I will post them in a subsequent post.


  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    Stolen Election from Alaska?
    Posted November 6, 2008 | 04:39 AM (EST)

    Alaska On eBay? Election Numbers Update
    Posted November 7, 2008 | 06:09 AM (EST)

    The Sacrament of Democracy
    Posted November 18, 2008 | 04:50 AM (EST)


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