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Senate: Right now, the GOP has a 55-44-1 advantage. I see the Democrats picking up two seats, with a possibility of a third. Rick Santorum and Mike DeWine will almost certainly lose, and Santorum’s loss will really hurt the GOP. I expect either Jim Talent or George Allen to get edged out, but it’s such a toss-up that I’m going to figure that they’ll win at least one. Michael Steele will win Paul Sarbanes’s open Maryland seat, adding one back in for the GOP. Corker, Burns, Chafee all win, and on Wednesday we will all wonder why anyone counted Jon Kyl as anything but a solid Republican hold. In the end, the split will be 53-45-2 (Sanders and Lieberman).
Optimistic? We'll soon see! Keep checking back on this post for updates.
7:34 - I'm hearing that some initial precincts in Virginia have Allen up 59-41, but that has to be from a GOP stronghold.
7:42 - Allen up by 10 points with 7% of precincts reporting. This is looking ... not bad.
8:02 - Allen's down a point now. It looks like northern Virginia just came in. It's a gap of four thousand votes.
8:05 - Yeah, it was Fairfax County, which is a Democratic power base. No big surprise there.
8:23 - Robert Bluey is sitting next to me and tells me CBS has called Pennsylvania and Ohio for Casey and Brown, respectively. Neither is a surprise, but as Nick Gillespie just said to me, Santorum's loss is a big blow to the Republican social conservatives. If Allen doesn't make it, it's going to really kneecap that faction in the Senate.
8:28 - Matt Sheffield notes that CBS made this call while polls were still open in PA. What happened to responsible exit-poll reporting?
8:37 - Early returns have Corker well ahead of Ford in Tennessee.
8:40 - Allen's back on top in Virginia by a thin margin (7,000 votes).
8:51 - Santorum and Casey were the two races I expected Republicans to lose. So far, I don't see any evidence that we're going to lose anything else, but Missouri hasn't reported yet.
8:55 - Aaaaaannnnnnd, Allen's still on top in Virginia. With 60% of all precincts reporting, Allen has a 14,000-vote lead. We've seen Fairfax and Arlington report, and most of the rest of the precincts are in the south.
9:03 - With 17% of all precincts reporting, Tom Kean leads Bob Menendez by 3 points and 14,000 votes -- but the networks are still calling this for the Dems. Keep an eye out, I think they made a mistake.
9:12 - Okay, Menendez' districts have come in now and he has a significant lead. I made a mistake. Allen continues to lead by a few thousand votes. Missouri has started to report, and Talent has a lead at a stage where it makes little difference.
9:22 - CNN called Maryland for Cardin, although Steele has an initial lead. None of us here can figure out why CNN made that call, not even John Aravosis, who's rooting for Cardin. I'll look into the demos.
9:28 - Allen's up by 22,000 votes in Virginia now, but it's still close. In Missouri, Robert Bluey tells me that Amendment 2 is leading, which is good news for Talent. He's up by four points in the early count.
9:41 - The Senate seat in Maryland still looks pretty competitive for Steele. Prince George's County hasn't reported yet, and the county leadership all endorsed Steele. I say this still looks winnable for the GOP.
9:58 - Allen's still up by 28,000 votes in Virginia, with 84% reporting now. Cardin slipped ahead of Steele after Prince George's County reported, but that should have been a Democratic stronghold. Cardin is carrying it 2-1 with 19% of the precincts reporting. That may change.
10:10 - Fox is calling Missouri for Talent, and I believe they called Tennessee for Corker as well. It's looking like the GOP will hold the Senate.
10:25 - Jim Talent is stretching his lead in Missouri. He's up ten points and 37,000 votes with 25% of the precincts counted. It's a fairly surprising result, although it appears that Amendment 2 pulled conservatives to the polls to defeat it.
10:43 - Allen's still up by 27K with 94% counted, and back up to 50%. Steele has narrowed the gap to 5,000 in Maryland with 33% reporting, so that's still an open contest.
11:27 - Took a bit of a break, and I've been having a great chat with Jacki Schechner and Robert Bluey (and John Aravosis). However, it looks like Michael Steele has pulled back into the lead in Maryland with 48% of the precincts reporting. He's up by 17,000 and two percentage points.
12:28 - Allen/Webb way too close to call. I hear that the absentee ballots get counted last in Virginia -- does anyone know whether this is true? If so, it might provide a lifeline to Allen, who's trailing by 1800 votes at the moment. Steele has apparently lost to Cardin, so we didn't get that pickup, and it looks like Tester beat Burns for another Democratic pickup. It looks bad for the GOP, but it looks like they'll still hold the majority 51-48-1.
12:43 - And we didn't need this news, but Talent just dropped a thousand votes behind McCaskill in Missouri. That might lose us control of the Senate ... very bad news.Sphere It View blog reactions
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» Captain's Quarters Election Night Coverage from Bill's Bites
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