Happy days are here again?

With Talent conceding in Missouri, and Webb now ahead by 11,000 in Virginia, if John Tester holds on to a 3.5 percentage point lead in Montana you can call Harry Reid “Majority Leader.” We needed to run the table, and it looks as if we did. Best guess is a pickup of 34 in the House.

Talent has now conceded Missouri. Webb is now up 11,000 in Virginia, with nothing left to count but the provisionals (and late military absentee votes? I’m not sure.) That would seem to be outside anything a recount is likely to change.

In Montana, Tester is up by 7000 votes (which doesn’t sound like much, but is 3% of the votes cast), but with 30% of the precincts still out. It shouldn’t be hard to figure out what’s still outstanding, but that seems to be beyond the capacity of our political reporters. But if he holds on (and Tradesports has that 87 bid, 95 asked) then Harry Reid is Majority Leader.

Going in to tonight, we needed six seats. It looked as if Pennsylvania and Ohio were gimmes, and Rhode Island more likely than not. That was three. Virginia, Missouri and Montana looked more or less even, and Tennessee and Arizona looked like longshots. So unless lightening struck in Tenn. or AZ, we needed to take the other three, while holding Maryland and New Jersey, each of which looked good but not solid. That’s six very competitive races, and we needed to take every one: to “run the table,” in the cliche everyone was using.

As of now, the table appears to have been run.

(House pickup looks to be about 34.)

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

4 thoughts on “Happy days are here again?”

  1. One point I've been unclear on – if we take both VA and MT, will that mean we have outright control of the Senate, or would that be that the Dems have control if the Independents agree to caucus with them?
    A few days ago, you posited a nightmare scenario that we could initially win the Senate, but then have Bush fire Rumsfeld, replace him as SecDef with Leiberman and the CT Gov could replace Leiberman with a Republican, and effectively returning control of the Senate to the Reps because of Cheney's position as the tie-breaker. If we pick up MT and VA, will that still be a possibility, or will we have control regardless?

  2. CNN has the House at +27 on the pessimistic side, with probably 1 currently un-called pick-up going to Dems, a realistic shot in 2 more, and a longshot in a total of 6, So it will be recount city for the final margin.

  3. Lieberman becoming secdef sounds like a classic screw you in theory, but just how do you think he would get through the senate approval? The 50 democrats he just royally screwed say thanks and vote him in? It's just not going to happen.
    He could caucus as a republican, but I doubt that, since that would be a clear statement broken, which looks bad. I think he will continue the act, caucus with dems, be a semi-reliable republican vote on a lot of issues. Even if he votes republican 100% of the time, with reid as majority leader the game changes a lot. The conference bullshit will go away for example, and politically embarassing bills for the dem won't make it out of committee nearly as often.

  4. If the Democrats hold MT and VA, the Senate will be 49-49-2, with Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman both saying that they will caucus with the Democrats.

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