Dec. 02 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 365   McCain 173  
Senate Dem 58   GOP 40   Ties 2
House Dem 255   GOP 175   Ties 5

Senate map and races
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strong Dem Strong Dem (258)
weak Dem Weak Dem (33)
barely Dem Barely Dem (74)
tied Exactly tied (0)
barely GOP Barely GOP (14)
weak GOP Weak GOP (39)
strong GOP Strong GOP (120)
270 Electoral votes needed to win
Map algorithm explained
Presidential polls today: (None) RSS
Dem pickups (vs. 2004): CO FL IN IA NV NM NC OH VA GOP pickups (vs. 2004): (None) PDA SMS

PW logo Obama Secret Meeting Revealed Chambliss Wins Run Off
Holbrooke Eyed for Key Diplomatic Role Jeb Bush Considers Senate Bid
Pelosi Tightens Her Grip Obama Gets High Marks for Transition

News from the Votemaster

Chambliss - Martin Runoff Is Today

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) faces Democrat Jim Martin in a runoff in Georgia today. A poll from PPP (D) puts Chambliss ahead 53% to 46%. Martin can only win if there is a huge black turnout--bigger than the one that turned out for Barack Obama on Nov. 4, and that seems unlikely. Probably Chambliss will hang onto his job.

Chambliss called in all the big guns to campaign for him, including John McCain and Sarah Palin. Martin also had some big guns, including Bill Clinton, but not Barack Obama, who presumably doesn't not want to be associated with a Martin defeat. McCain was in Georgia to help his Senate colleague Chambliss. Palin was in Georgia to help the governor of Alaska, Sarah Palin. First of all, Chambliss will surely be grateful for her help and may become an early supporter for her 2012 presidential run and other Republicans may appreciate her doing things to help the party. But more important, it gives her more experience campaigning and gets voters in at least one state more familiar with her. But she has a tough row to hoe because independents don't think she is made of presidential timber and Democrats despise her. CQ Politics has a column on her presidential ambitions.

Georgia is not the only state with runoffs. There will be runoffs for two House seats, LA-02 and LA-04 on Saturday.

Minnesota Update

Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) has increased his lead over Democrat Al Franken to 340 votes, with nearly 6000 ballots challenged and many absentee ballots in dispute. However, Franken's attorney claims that the difference is only 73 votes. It is still possible that Franken will go to court to have the absentee ballots examined again to see if any were falsely rejected. It is even possible that he could appeal a court decision to the Senate, which has the final say about seating its members.

Specter May Face a Primary Challenge from the Right in 2004

One of the two most endangered Republican senators in 2010 is Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA). In 2004, he barely back a primary challenge from Pat Toomey, president of the antitax Club for Growth. Toomey is now talking about how vulnerable Specter is because so many Republican moderates have left the party and cannot vote in Pennsylvania's closed primary. Specter will be 80 in 2010 and has incurable cancer. The Democrats will being going after him with hammer and tongs and the last thing he needs is a primary fight that forces him to move sharply to the right in a blue state. Potential Democratic candidates who might challenge him are Gov. Ed Rendell (D-PA) and TV host Chris Matthews. Under all foreseeable circumstances, Pennsylvania is going to be the site of one of the top two Senate battles in 2010 (along with New Hampshire).

Hillary Clinton in 2016

While some people (like Spector) are thinking about 2010 and others (like Palin) are thinking about 2012, long-range thinkers (like Hillary Clinton) are focusing on 2016 already. Long-time Democratic strategist Bob Shrum wrote a piece on what she has to do to be elected in 2016. The bottom line is that she has to concede that we have one President at a time and as of January 20th he will be Barack Obama. She has to focus all of her considerable talents on being the best secretary of state in history, serve the nation and the President well, and just forget about being President until 2014, when she can resign (if she is still in office) and make a run based on a track record of real accomplishment.

Will Bush Pardon Stevens?

One power that lame-duck Presidents still have is the power to pardon people. There is increasing speculation that President Bush will pardon Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) who has been convicted on seven counts of lying on his Senate disclosure forms. A number of Republican senators have expressed support for the idea of a pardon. Stevens has not formally requested one and Bush has not commented on the idea yet. The downside for Bush is what future historians will say about him.

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-- The Votemaster