On Election Day and the days immediately after, it looked like Ted Stevens of Alaska, the dean of Senate Republicans, had been reelected, notwithstanding his recent conviction on corruption charges. (Stevens is appealing his conviction).
But during the count of approximately 90,000 absentee ballots, after the polls closed, the Democrat in that race, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, has pulled ahead by more than 800 votes. The counting continues.
If Begich wins, it would put the Senate makeup at 56 Democrats, 40 Republicans, two independents who have caucused with the Dems (Bernie Sander of Vermont and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, whose status in the caucus is iffy) and pending the outcome of the recount in Minnesota and the runoff in Georgia. It keeps alive, slightly, the possibility of a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority for the Democrats.
Mark Begich, by the way, has Minnesota roots of which I’ve just become aware. His father, Nick Begich, was born and raised in Eveleth before moving to Alaska as a young man and entering politics himself, eventually serving in Congress. One of Nick’s brothers, Joe Begich, (that would be an uncle of the Senate candidate) served in the Minnesota Legislature. Nick Begich died in a 1972 plane crash while campaigning for reelection to Congress.