Democrats Pick Up Five Senate Seats So Far, as Both Udalls Win

Posted November 4, 2008 at 9:29pm

Senate Democrats are poised to sweep all three open-seat contests this cycle, as early totals show that Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) is expected to defeat former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R).

A victory by Udall, which was called by the Rocky Mountain News, would build on other Democratic victories Tuesday in Virginia and New Mexico.

Democrats have picked up five seats so far tonight; they need a nine-seat pickup to hit the filibuster-proof 60-seat mark in the next Congress.

Other votes totals in contests west of the Mississippi also undoubtedly have Democrats giddy. With the polls now closed and the first 200,000 votes counted, comedian Al Franken (D) was ahead of Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), 46 percent to 39 percent, according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) was soundly defeating ex-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D), 59 percent to 41 percent, according to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. Polls in the Magnolia State closed at 8 p.m. local time.

Earlier in the evening, voters ousted GOP Sens. John Sununu (N.H.) and Elizabeth Dole (N.C.), while Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) held on, taking 52 percent of the vote against wealthy Democratic businessman Bruce Lunsford.

With more than 50 percent of precincts reporting, Dole was losing to state Sen. Kay Hagan (D) 53 percent to 44 percent.

Sen. Susan Collins (R) also skated to victory over Rep. Tom Allen (D), winning 54 percent to 46 percent with 7 percent of the votes counted.

Targeted Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) was also narrowly ahead of state Treasurer John Kennedy (R), 50 percent to 48 percent, with one-third of the vote in, according to the AP.

In other open-seat races, Rep. Tom Udall (D) defeated Rep. Steve Pearce (R) in New Mexico to replace retiring Rep. Pete Domenici (R), while former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) is poised to replace retiring Sen. John Warner (R-Va.).

With more than 75 percent of precincts reporting, Warner was leading ex-Gov. Jim Gilmore (R), 63 percent to 36 percent.

Meanwhile, with 56 percent of precincts reporting, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) was out in front of Rep. Jim Martin (D), 56 percent to 40 percent, according to the Georgia secretary of State. Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley was garnering about 4 percent of the vote.

If neither Chambliss nor Martin takes more the 50 percent of the vote, the two will square off in a Dec. 2 runoff.

In Oregon, where Sen. Gordon Smith (R) is threatened by state Speaker Jeff Merkley (D), polls will close at 11 p.m. EST. And in Alaska, voters have until 1 a.m. EST to cast their ballots in the race between Sen. Ted Stevens (R), who was convicted in a corruption trial last month, and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D).