It’s been about an hour since the polls closed and here are the preliminary results:
From TPM, 8:10 PM EST:
Martin (D) 137,084 35%
Chambliss (R) 253,515 65%
UPDATE: From TPM, 8:27 PM EST:
Martin (D) 223,087 36%
Chambliss (R) 401,688 64%
UPDATE II: From TPM, 8:38 PM EST:
Martin (D) 393,081 38%
Chambliss (R) 639,799 62%
UPDATE III: From TPM, 8:56 PM EST:
Martin (D) 527,462 39%
Chambliss (R) 817,438 61%
Things aren’t ;looking good for Martin–unless most of the outstanding precincts are in his territory, he doesn’t appear to be gaining enough to overcome Chambliss’ lead.
UPDATE IV: From TPM, 9:12 PM EST:
Martin (D) 614,814 40%
Chambliss (R) 932,227 60%
The AP and most of the networks have called the race for Saxby Chambliss.
That means the Democrats won’t reach 60 seats this time around.
Then again, that 60-seat number was always symbolic–it’s doubtful there will be a strictly party-line filibuster in the next two years, anyway. Depending on the legislation at hand, it’s likely that some conservative Democrats may side with the Republicans while some moderate Republicans may side with the Democrats; even if the Dems fail in MN, too, it’s hard to imagine they won’t be able to get 2 Republican Senators to support a given piece of legislation.
No matter what, the Democrats will have at least a 58 seat Senate majority, the biggest Senate majority since the 96th Congress in 1979. That, in and of itself, is a feat to behold.
SILVER LINING: In Minnesota, 171 ballots were found not to have been counted on election night due to a glitch in the vote-scanning machine; when subjected to a hand recount, they resulted in a 37-vote gain for Al Franken. In a race where some estimated Franken to only be 50 votes behind as of this morning, that’s big news.