Dec. 08 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 365   McCain 173  
Senate Dem 58   GOP 41   Ties 1
House Dem 256   GOP 178   Ties 1

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
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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

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News from the Votemaster

Kilroy Wins OH-15

Mary Jo Kilroy (D) was elected to Congress from OH-15 on her second try after the provisional ballots were counted yesterday. Her margin of victory was 2311 votes over Steve Stivers (R). This is the first time in 42 years that the central Ohio district has been represented by a Democrat. The seat was previously occupied by Deborah Pryce, who is retiring.

In case you missed yesterday's news, Joseph Cao (R) won LA-02 and John Fleming (R) won LA-04. Democrat Paul Carmouche in LA-04 has not yet conceded though. The only other unsettled House race now is VA-05, where Tom Perriello (D) went into the recount leading Rep. Virgil Goode (R-VA) by 745 votes. That is a large number to change in a recount.

No News from Minnesota

There was no news from the Minnesota Senate race over the weekend. It remains very close, with Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) still leading by just over 200 votes in the official count, but with thousands of challenged ballots outstanding as well as fights over absentee ballots that may have been improperly rejected.

This race could easily end up in the courts--or beyond. People are starting to talk about the 1974 Senate race in New Hampshire that tied the Senate in knots for months. After 656 roll call votes by the committee on rules and administration, the matter went to the full Senate, which couldn't decide the matter either. Ten months after the election, everyone gave up and it was decided to hold a new election. Here is a recap.

Obama Names Shinseki to the Cabinet

President-elect Barack Obama has named Gen. Eric Shinseki to run the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Shinseki was formerly chief of staff of the army but was fired when he said we would need far more troops (400,000) in Iraq than then-secretary Donald Rumsfeld said were needed. Now he will have to take care of the veterans returning from the undermanned war in Iraq. Scandals at Walter Reed hospital have highlighted how badly returning veterans have been treated and it will be Shinseki's job to fix the system.

Here are the cabinet appointments so far.

Position Cabinet officer
Attorney General Eric Holder
Secretary of Commerce Gov. Bill Richardson
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates
Secretary of Health and Human Services former Sen. Tom Daschle
Secretary of Homeland Security Gov. Janet Napolitano
Secretary of State Sen. Hillary Clinton
Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Gen. Eric Shinseki

In addition, Obama has appointed Susan Rice to be ambassador to the United Nations, Gen. James Jones to be his national security advisor, and Christina Romer to be chairwoman of the council of economic advisors.

Democrats Have a Slight Edge in the 2010 Senate Races

CQ Politics has a quick rundown of the 2010 Senate races. Democrats will be defending 17 seats to the Republicans 19 seats. Probably more important though are the vulnerable seats. There are open Republican seats in Kansas (Sam Brownback is retiring) and Florida (Mel Martinez is retiring). Also Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) and Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) are highly vulnerable. No Democrat has a large target painted on his or her back although if Gov. Arnold Schwarzengger (R-CA) challenges Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) she could have a real fight on her hands. But she is popular in the state and is a prodigious fundraiser so she is no pushover.

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-- The Votemaster