Begich Breaks Out

November 19th, 2008

We’re down to 8,000 votes left to be counted, and Democrat Mark Begich has now doubled his lead over convicted felon and Republican Ted Stevens. Stevens, who had a 3,000-vote lead before early and absentee ballots were counted, saw his lead dwindle and then disappear, and now Begich has almost as much a lead as Stevens had held–2,374 at the moment–and with so few votes left to count, it is virtually unthinkable that Stevens could pull ahead.

However, the game is not entirely over. While Begich’s lead is now safely outside the margin that would require a recount, Stevens could still ask for one, and it would only cost him $15,000–chump change that could easily be made up with a bribe or two. On the other hand, Alaska’s ballot system is said to be reliable enough that a recount would have little chance of changing the outcome, and there is likely to be a fair amount of pressure on Stevens to let it be, by Republicans who would rather not deal with the spotlight of a convicted felon who stands to be ejected from the Senate anyway clawing for the slightest chance to overturn the standing results.

Considering the unlikeliness of Stevens winning and the probability of him being thrown out of the Senate even if he wins, I am not sure that I agree with the Alaska Daily News when they say a recount is likely to happen.

It looks like one way or another, Alaska is pretty much a lock for the Democrats. Next up: Minnesota, where Franken stands a better-than-average chance of overturning Norm Coleman’s 215-vote lead in the state’s mandatory recount.

Update: With only 2500 absentee ballots left to count, Democrat Mark Begich now leads by 3,700 votes. The news agencies are calling this a “win” for Begich. So now we have to wait until Stevens decides whether he will concede or pay for a recount.

Comments are closed.