There is a lot of confusion and misinformation that I am seeing about the Senate races that currently hang in the balance in the states of Minnesota, Alaska, and Georgia. The Democrats hold 57 Senate seats as of this writing, and were they to win all three of these contested races they would hit the magic number of 60.
This of course can not be allowed to happen, and it is imperative that Republicans mobilize in full force in order to prevent these seats from turning to Democratic hands. All three are seats that are filled by incumbent Republicans, one who has now been conviced on several felonies, which complicates his bid for re-election.
Minnesota, could potentially be the closest and therefor most hotly contested race. As of this writing, because of corrupt vote counting, or fair vote counting, depending of course on your party, incumbent Norm Coleman leads by .007% of the vote, or just 206 ballots. Anything under .5% triggers a mandatory recount, which will begin on November 18th. Even before the recount, Franken has been gaining. On election night, Coleman led by more than 700 votes, but has lost ground quickly. It is interesting to note, the gains Franken has made outperforms how Democrats including Obama performed in Minnesota, which raises some eyebrows. I believe there is some peculiar vote counting going on, for this reason. This race will be decided by court battles and long hand recounts. In the end, I think Franken is in the stronger position, despite the current tally. I believe Coleman is in serious trouble, and has a good chance of losing his seat, in fact, I believe Franken will win it, and I call this seat for the Democrats.
In Alaska, the race is very close as well. Incumbent Senator Ted Stevens leads by only 1.5% over Democratic challenger Mark Begich, a 3,257 vote lead. Stevens will most likely pull it out, despite his conviction and the close race. However, should he win, it is almost certain he will resign, which under Alaska law will trigger a special election. The only reason Mark Begich came close to defeating Stevens is because Stevens is seen as corrupt, a fresh non incumbent, young Republican would easily win a special election regardless of how strong a contender the Democrats throw at the race. Many think should this scenario come to pass, Sarah Palin is likely to run to fill the seat, she is immensely popular in Alaska and would win the seat easily. This seat is safe for Republicans, it is just unclear which Republican will be sitting in it when the dust settles.
The last race is truly a toss up. Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss won the popular vote, but fell .2% short of the 50% mark needed to avoid a run off. Allen Buckley, the Libertarian candidate, siphoned 4% of the votes off, almost ensuring the Dec. 2nd runoff. Essentially, turnout is the key in this election. There is no presidential vote this time around, and this will work to make turnout very low, most likely below 45%. Whoever gets the most turnout wins, as the Libertarian is not a factor this time, come Dec. 2nd, one man will have a plurality of the vote. Traditionally, the Democrats get-out-the-vote machine is superior to that of the Republicans, and I am very worried about Chambliss' seat. There is no way to make a good prediction, but if I was forced to say who is in the better position, I would say Democrat Jim Martin. Again, this race is very close though, and it is the only one that will be decided by the voters.
By my tally, the Senate balance of power looks like this. Currently, the Democrats have 57 seats, I predice they will win Coleman's seat in Minnesota, bringing them to 58. I predict a Republican will win the Alaska seat, but I have not the slightest clue who. This keeps the balance at 58. Should Martin win the Georgia seat, which is more likely I think then Chambliss winnning, then the balance shifts to 59, one vote shy of 60.
Of course, Democrats do not need 60 to get past a filibuster. With 59 votes, they can almost always pick off a moderate Republican to support the measure and ram legislation through. Effectively, the Democrats have a working majority in both houses, and they have a president in the White House who is more than willing to sign there legislation. Now, all that remains to be seen is how they will use, or abuse, this new power.