Dec. 20 absentee ballot for overseas voters

Obama 365   McCain 173  
Senate Dem 58   GOP 41   Ties 1
House Dem 257   GOP 178  

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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

Franken Takes the Lead in Minnesota

Democrat Al Franken has taken the lead in the Minnesota Senate recount by 252 votes as of the end of counting yesterday. However, both parties withdrew some challenges which could yet be reinstated. The effect of withdrawing and then reinstating challenges is hard to oversee but the Star Tribune is predicting that Franken will hold a 75-vote lead when all the challenges are resolved. However, there are still 1600 absentee ballots to deal with. Absentee ballots in Minnesota tend to skew Democratic but we won't know for sure until they are counted. The Minnesota state supreme court ruled this week that absentee ballots that were potentially incorrectly rejected must be examined again so that every legitimate vote is counted.

If nobody has been chosen by the time the Senate reconvenes Jan. 5, Gov Tim Pawlenty (R-MN) could appoint Coleman to the seat. However, the Senate could refuse to seat him. It could get very messy. Both campaigns expect further litigation.

Cillizza's Take on the 2010 Senate Races

The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza has compiled a list of the 10 most likely Senate seats to flip in 2010. Here is the list, with #1 the most likely to flip and #10 the least likely.

      -   1 Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)
      -   2 Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
      -   3 Open (Sen. Mel Martinez' seat in Florida)
      -   4 Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)
      -   5 Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO)
      -   6 Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)
      -   7 Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO)
      -   8 Open (Sen. Sam Brownback's seat in Kansas)
      -   9 Illinois
      - 10. Sen Harry Reid (D-NV) and Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) (tie)

Our rundown of all 2010 Senate races is here. A link to it is on the "Data galore" page on the menu above. It will be updated throughout 2009 as new developments occur. Take a look once in a while.

Obama Names Scientists to Top Posts

President-elect Obama has named four well-known scientists to key administration posts, indicating a complete reversal from the Bush's attitude toward science. Harvard physicist John Holdren will become Obama's science advisor and marine biologist Jane Lubchenco will head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, In addition, Harold Varmus, the former director of the National Institutes of Health and Eric Lander, a biology professor at M.I.T., will co-chair the President's council of advisers on science and technology. Obama has made it clear that he believes strongly in science and the integrity of the scientific process and wants the best advice possible on the many scientific matters a President faces, from global warming to reproductive biology. In contrast, the Bush administration had few top scientists in key positions and often tried to muzzle government scientists who spoke out against the administration's policies on global warming and other matters.

Bristol Palin's Future Mother-in-Law Arrested on Drug Charges

Gov. Sarah Palin's daughter, Bristol, was briefly in the news this year as an unwed teenage mother. It was announced that Bristol and the baby's father, Levi Johnston would soon marry. The baby is due this week but the couple is not yet married. A new twist to the Palin saga is the arrest of Johnston's mother on six felony counts relating to possession of a controlled substance. One can only imagine what would have happened with this news story had Palin now been the Vice President elect. The NY Daily News wrote in its usual succinct way: "Bristol Palin's soon-to-be-born son has two grandmas in the news: the one who ran for vice president, and the one busted on drug charges."

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-- The Votemaster