Day After Election: Supermajority Still Possible

I don’t understand why the AP is reporting that “in the Senate [Democrats] fell short of the 60 votes needed for a filibuster-proof majority that would have given them almost unbridled power over legislation.” In the next paragraph of the same article, the writer says:

Voters ousted Senate Republicans in North Carolina and New Hampshire and added three seats held by retiring GOP incumbents to the Democrats’ fragile 51-49 majority. Four other Senate races involving Republican incumbents, including the contest in Minnesota, were too close to call early Wednesday. The GOP retained some leverage in spite of Democratic gains.

So, the Democrats started with 51 plus North Carolina and New Hampshire is 53. Add the three seats previously held by retiring GOP incumbents is 56. And there are 4 more too close to call. Unless I missed something in second grade, I’m pretty sure that means 60 is still a possibility.

What’s Left:

  • Minnesota: as of this afternoon, Franken (D) has pulled within 475 of incumbent Coleman (R). There will be an automatic recount, which the Minnesota Secretary of State said will take “several weeks.”
  • Oregon: the incumbent Smith (R) is currently ahead of Merkeley (D) by about 4000 votes, but there are two heavily-democratic counties whose votes are yet to be tallied. 
  • Alaska: the incumbent Stevens (R) is ahead of Begich (D) by under 4000 votes, but Alaska over 40,000 absentee ballots to count. Ironically, if Stevens holds on and the Senate removes him for being convicted on bribery, Gov. Sarah Palin will pick his replacement.
  • Georgia: the incumbent Chambliss (R) has more votes but failed to earn a majority so far. There are more votes to be counted, but if he does not get a majority, there will be a run-off between Chambliss and Martin (D) on December 2.

Can you imagine if the Dems win Minnesota, Oregon, and Alaska? Georgia will become the battleground for supermajority control of the Senate.

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