AP Declares Webb Winner In Virginia, Giving Democrats Control Of Senate; Republican Leaders Call On Allen To Concede
A historic week for the Democrats appears to have gotten a whole lot better.
The Associated Press declared Democrat Jim Webb the winner late Wednesday of the Virginia Senate race, and reported that his victory gives the Democrats 51 Senate seats and majorities in both the House and Senate for the first time since 1994.
The AP contacted election officials in all 134 Virginia localities where voting occurred. About half said they had completed their post-election canvassing and nearly all had counted outstanding absentees. Most were expected to be finished by tomorrow.
The Democrat's lead over the Republican incumbent rose to more than 7,300 votes, within the margin under state law for a state-paid recount. Out of 2.3 million votes cast, the margin is about 0.3 percent. But election experts say overcoming that kind of lead has almost never been done in a recount.
An adviser to Allen, speaking on condition of anonymity because his boss hasn't formally decided to end the campaign, told the AP that the senator wanted to wait until most of the canvassing was completed before announcing his decision, possibly as early as this evening. The adviser said that Allen was disinclined to request a recount if the final vote spread was similar to that of election night.
Meanwhile, the National Journal Hotline reports that "top Republicans in Washington will give Sen. George Allen a few days to take stock of his legal and political options before beginning to pressure him to concede to James Webb. Senior Republican officials and White House aides believe that Webb won the race. Several outside advisers to Allen want him to make the decision quickly."
Goodbye, Sen. "Macaca."