NEWSFLASH: Senate Race Down To 4 Races
On Target To Pick Up Both Houses (With A Bit Of
By Alastair Thompson
With a remarkably small number of actual votes counted (not to mention huge reservoirs of absentee paper ballots) the Democrats are on target to pull off a remarkable victory in the US Mid-Term elections.
All eyes are now on the Senate races in Montana, Missouri, Tennessee and Virginia.
At the close of polls in the East Exit polls gave the House and Senate to the Democratic ticket but confidence in exit polls has slipped a fair bit since they failed to predict the results spectacularly in 2004.
Nevertheless the size of the margins indicated in the exit polls has allowed the US TV networks to make early calls in many races.
Two of the first Republicans to get their marching orders – in a somewhat ironic fashion- have been two infamous former two Secretary of States (SoSs).
Ohio's Kenneth Blackwell and Florida's Katherine Harris - who are regarded by many to be personally responsible for delivering George Bush the Whitehouse in Ohio in 2004 and Florida in 2000 respectively (SoS's are responsible for the election apparatus) – have respectively lost their bids to become Governor of Ohio and Senator for Florida.
As of 3.40pm NZ Time – 9.40pm ET US – CNN is calling a three seat gain for the Democrats in the House and a three seat gain in the Senate. To win the Democrats need a gain of 15 in the house and 6 in the Senate.
Prior to today's election – on the basis of polls - the betting odds favoured the Democrats winning the House but missing out on control of the Senate.
As stated earlier the exit polls indicate a Democratic victory in the Senate.
At this time the CNN election team has called Maryland and New Jersey to the Democrats. These Senate seats were already held by the Democrats but they were considered to be the vulnerable seats and so maintaining them was critical for the Democrats.
Meanwhile already – with only about 20% of precincts (equivalent to NZ booths) reporting – CNN has called Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Ohio to the Democrats.
The frontline is now Virginia, Tennessee, Montana and Missouri where the Democrats need to pick up three of the four to win.
At present in the count Montana hasn't yet started. The republican incumbents are ahead in Missouri Tennessee, and Virginia. The margin in Missouri is only 3000 votes with just 9% of precincts reporting. Considerably more votes have been counted in Tennessee and Virgina but the margins for the Republicans are under 2%.