Stevens Takes Early Lead; Three Senate Races Still Unresolved

Posted November 5, 2008 at 1:02am

Convicted Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) has taken an early lead against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D), according to the Associated Press. With roughly a third of precincts reporting, Stevens was leading Begich, 49 percent to 45 percent.

Just a week ago, Stevens was convicted of corruption charges in a federal court in Washington, D.C., and his political career was assumed to be over.

Meanwhile, Senate races in Oregon and Minnesota tightened just after midnight EST, and remain that way at 2 a.m. today, with incumbent Sens. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) and Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) both essentially tied with their Democratic challengers.

In Minnesota, Coleman and comedian Al Franken (D) were in a dead heat — 42 percent apiece — with 83 percent of precincts reporting, according to the Associated Press.

And with 42 percent of precincts reporting, Smith was essentially neck-and-neck with state Speaker Jeff Merkley (D), leading 47 percent to 46 percent.

Democrats have already picked up five seats in the Senate, ousting Sens. John Sununu (R-N.H.) and Elizabeth Dole (R-N.C.), and winning open-seat races in Colorado, New Mexico and Virginia.

But regardless of how the final three races go, Senate Democrats will not get to the filibuster-proof 60 seats they were seeking.