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Control Of Senate Riding On Wellstone's Old Seat

The US mid-term elections appear to be proving the wisdom of the pundits with pretty much everything going exactly as expected. It is a very, very, very, close run thing.

As expected the Republican’s have performed historically well in the House races and are now projected to maintain their majority if not improve it; the Democrats have picked up a few Governorships (but not Florida), and the crucial Senate race is headed down for the wire.

To some extent this election has always been largely about whether the Republican party of President George Bush can complete its capture of all three branches of the US polity. If it can then it will potentially enjoy two years of unchallenged power in Washington.

Thus far however the picture in the Senate race remains remarkably murky.

At 11.10pm EST the scorecard was 45 seats to the Democrats and 43 to the Republicans with 11 races undecided (three far Western states haven’t yet declared any results).

The scorecard in the close and contentious races identified by Scoop is;

Decided:
- Republican John Sununu has won New Hampshire (holding the seat);
- Democrat Frank Lautenberg (late replacement for disgraced Senator Torriceli) has won New Jersey (holding the seat)

Undecided:
- Republican Saxby Chambliss is comfortably ahead in Georgia (winning the seat);
- Republican John Cornyn is comfortably ahead in Georgia (holding the seat)
- Democrat Frank Lautenberg has won New Jersey (holding the seat)
- Democrat Mark Pryor is ahead in Arkansas (winning the seat);
- Republican Wayne Allard is ahead in Colorado (holding the seat);
- Republican Jim Talent is ahead in Missouri (winning the seat);
- In early counting Republican Norm Coleman is ahead in Minnesota (vs Walter Mondale, winning the seat)
- Democrat Tim Johnson is ahead in South Dakota (winning the seat)

Assuming Idaho, Oregon and Alaska go the way they are expected to we have:

- The Republicans winning Georgia & Missouri
- The Democrats winning Arkansas and South Dakota

Which would deliver a status quo result with the Democrats holding a single seat majority thanks to former Republican now independent Senator Jim Jeffords.

Which means its all down to Walter Mondale in Minnesota, the seat vacated by Paul Wellstone when he died (some think suspiciously) in an unexplained airplane crash on October 25th, 11 days out from polling.

At 11.19pm as this story is posted Mondale is behind (44% to 53%) with 3% of precincts reporting.

To watch the count live see…

http://www.nytimes.com/ref/elections2002/2002senateindex.html

(Coverage continuing…)

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