Four Races Will Determine Whether Senate Democrats Hit 60

Posted November 4, 2008 at 10:14pm

All eyes are turning to Oregon, where polls closed at 11 p.m. and Sen. Gordon Smith’s (R-Ore.) fate — and Democrats’ filibuster-proof pipe dream — hangs in the balance.

So far, Democrats are successfully defending Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), while knocking off incumbent Sens. Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.) and John Sununu (R-N.H.) and notching open-seat gains in Colorado, New Mexico and Virginia.

Republicans, too, are marking some wins, with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) holding on, while Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is soundly ahead of ex-Gov. Ronnie Musgrove (D), 55 percent to 45 percent with 67 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press. Polls in the Magnolia State closed at 8 p.m. local time.

All told, the newest totals net Democrats five seats and, for now, a 56-vote majority in the Senate — with four targeted races still in play: Alaska, Oregon, Minnesota and Georgia.

According to the AP, comedian Al Franken (D) was out in front of Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), 43 percent to 41 percent, with 15 percent of the votes counted. Former Sen. Dean Barkley (I) was garnering 16 percent of the vote.

In Georgia, with 75 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.

State officials have not yet reported vote totals in Oregon or Alaska, where polls will close at 1 a.m. EST. Democrats are slightly favored to win both seats.