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58-40
Begich Wins Alaska Senate Seat

As I'm writing this they're still counting 41,010 votes in the Ted Stevens-Marc Begich Senate race. Before that count began, Begich was leading by 1,022 votes. You don't have to wait for the official tally of the rest. (Although they'll give you some of that tally later today.) Begich is the next Senator. Here's why.

There are 40 voting precincts in Alaska. Stevens is leading in only 15 of those precincts. The total number of votes left to count in those 15 precincts is 15,541, or 37.9 percent of the uncounted votes.

It's not just about precinct numbers, but precinct size. Within the 25 precincts where Begich is leading, he's leading by 54 percent to 70 percent in 13 of them (that's in a three-way race, by the way, so a lead of 54 percent is considerable). Those 13 precincts alone have 13,980 ballots yet to be counted. (You can see all those numbers here).

In other words for Stevens to come back and win he'd have to not only outperform himself in Stevens precincts, but he'd have to beat back the large leads in Begich precincts. Not likely. Mathematically, Stevens can still do it. Realisticallty, he's finished. You can take this to the Capitol: It's Democrats with 58 Senators.

Now on to Minnesota and Georgia.

8:50 p.m. update, Nov. 18: The Alaska Elections office has just updated its tally. Begich's lead has grown to 3,724 votes, more than a percentage point difference (47.76% to 46.58%).

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