12 a.m.: Alaska and Hawaii; Winners: Mark Kirk, Kristi Noem; Update: Rossi trails by one; Breaking: Fox calls Nevada for Reid; Update: Write-in still leading in Alaska with more than 50% in; Update: Hand count coming in Alaska?

Nice and simple for our last hourly update of the night. Republican Charles Djou’s going to try to hold onto the House seat in Hawaii that he won in a special election earlier this year. As for Alaska, you know all about it: Daddy’s little senator isn’t going to let go of her throne until voters pry it out of her hands. Put on some coffee and watch the returns; if Miller pulls it out, the schadenfreude will keep you wired tomorrow all day.

I don’t mean to start Wednesday morning off on a bad note, but as of right now, Ken Buck’s three points down in Colorado with 50 percent reporting. And in the big one in Nevada, with 57 percent in: Reid 52, Angle 44. The melting bunny is on standby.

Update: Here’s the county map in Nevada. The rural counties are Angle strongholds and they have yet to report, so the race will tighten. Will it tighten enough to erase an eight-point lead is another question.

Update: Another downer: Alas, poor potheads, Prop 19 is going up in smoke. Truly a banner night for Californians.

Update: Hallelujah — at last, Illinois is called for Mark Kirk over mob banker Whatsisname. The One’s Senate seat is back in Republican hands.

Update: The other Reid on the ballot this year in Nevada is officially toast.

Update: I’ve got a special sugary treat for everyone who’s stayed up late with us tonight. Read this. Note the bit about indies especially.

Update: The polls in Washington state were dead-on thus far. With 60 percent reporting, Dino Rossi is within 1.2 points of Patty Murray. The difference at the moment is 16,000 votes.

Update: Another nailbiter in Colorado: After trailing by three, Buck is now within one with 67 percent reporting. Even better, 71 percent of Denver’s Democratic county has reported while plenty of rural red ones are just coming in.

Update: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times: Fox News says Dingy Harry has pulled it out. Between this and the landslide in Delaware, one of the subplots to the GOP victory narrative tomorrow will be the need for greater quality control among Republican candidates, whether tea-party or establishment. Anyone not think Marco Rubio, say, would have utterly destroyed this tool? Six more years of this crap now.

The silver lining? He’s a terrible majority leader, and we are after all stuck with a Democratic majority for another two years. He’ll probably do less damage than Schumer or Durbin would. But that’s the best spin I can put on it. It’s bitterly disappointing.

Chocolate Bunny Kill

Tiffany | Myspace Video

Update: As expected, Buck is surging as rural Colorado reports. He’s now up two points on Bennet with 48 percent in. Something to ease the pain of Reid’s win — a little.

Update: A big upset in NY-13 as Michael Grimm bumps off Mike McMahon. That almost makes up for the 28-point losses in both Senate races and the gubernatorial race.

Update: As if Reid’s win wasn’t sour enough, John Kerry’s just chimed in.

Update: The red wave in the House carries “the next Sarah Palin,” a.k.a. Kristi Noem, to victory over Stephanie Herseth-Sandlin in South Dakota.

Update: By the way, we haven’t had a snapshot of total House gains in hours. In case you’re wondering, according to the NYT, the GOP now stands at +56 — a few seats more than in 1994.

Update: Alaska results are finally coming in at the Anchorage Daily News. With roughly one-quarter of precincts reporting, the write-in candidate is ahead by a few thousand votes.

Update: The One has begun his nightly round of concession calls. Fantastically entertaining press conference at 1 p.m. tomorrow!

Update: Some people on Twitter are clinging to the desperate hope that “write-in votes” includes Murkowski plus a whole bunch of those people who signed up at the eleventh hour to make things harder for her by putting themselves on the write-in list. Really? Who’s voting for those people, exactly? Anyone who goes in there hating Murkowski is apt to vote for Miller, not another write-in. You might get a few gag votes for the other candidates, but I’m sure 99.9 percent of the write-ins are for princess.

Update: Loretta Sanchez was a heavy favorite over Van Tran, but early on she’s up by just a point. I’m hearing on Twitter too that Oberstar might be ready to tumble, but the race hasn’t been officially called yet.

Update: Geraghty looks for lessons:

I ended up loving the tenaciousness of Linda McMahon’s campaign, but her WWE past was less than ideal for a run against a state attorney general. Sharron Angle’s flaws? We can discuss them more later, but we all know they’re there. Ditto Christine O’Donnell. Dan Maes. Carl Paladino. A lot of key races ended up with candidates who were… let’s just say easily painted as out of the mainstream. The margin for error, even in a big GOP year, may have been smaller than primary voters expected.

It is a great night for Republicans. But it was an enormous opportunity; many candidates took advantage of it, but a few saw it slip through their fingers.

Update: With 224 of 438 precincts reporting, the ADN still has “write-in votes” by almost five points. I assume that the cities are reporting first and that rural areas will come later, which means things should tighten. I hope.

Update: The ADN is now reporting that Miller’s lawyer, Thomas Van Flein (who’s also Palin’s lawyer), is saying, “There will be no clear winner (tonight) and it looks like there will have to be a handcount.” Which is another way of saying that he expects the write-in votes either to win outright or to be close enough that a Miller win tonight will be challenged. (In fact, another ADN report notes that Miller, while not conceding anything, has sent his supporters home.) How long is a handcount going to take? This long:

The Division of Elections has sent out more than 42,000 absentee ballots. The first batch of those, as well as questioned ballots, will be counted Nov. 9. Some absentee ballots mailed back from overseas won’t be counted until Nov. 17.

If there are enough write-in ballots the issue will come up of how many wrote in Murkowski’s name, and did so properly enough to count. Alaska’s computerized voting system shows how many voters filled in the oval for a write-in candidate but not the actual name the voter wrote in. The write-in ballots are only opened to look at the name if there are more of them than votes for the leading candidate, or if the number of write-in ballots is within .5 percent of the frontrunner.

That count would begin Nov. 18 and be expected to last three days. The campaigns have been getting ready for the court challenges over “voter intent” that would be expected to follow. Minor misspellings are probably OK but simply writing “Lisa M,” for example, could be a problem.

Update: A slight narrowing now in Alaska as more precincts come in. Write-in leads by three and a half points with 256 of 438 precincts reporting. Get ready for “Hanging Chads II: Handwriting Edition” coming soon to Anchorage as every last write-in ballot is scrutinized for clear voter intent.

Update: A good point from a reader via e-mail: Miller can probably expect military ballots from overseas to break heavily in his favor given his West Point/Bronze Star pedigree. Even if he ends the night a bit behind, he’s in good shape to make up votes two weeks from now.

Update: New numbers from Alaska as we roll on towards 3 a.m.: With almost 70 percent reporting, “write-in votes” is still hanging onto a four-point lead.

Update: A simply brutal data point from Byron York. Here’s how weak a candidate Sharron Angle was:

The stat of the night, from exit polls: Of those who voted in NV, 55% disapproved of Reid’s job performance, 44% approved. And Reid won.

Update: Joe Miller tells NRO that he’s not waiting up for the results in Alaska and is going to hit the sack. I’ll take that as my cue to follow suit. The newest numbers: With almost 75 percent in, “write-in votes” is still up by four. Whatever happens in the next few hours, the result will obviously be close enough to warrant a replay of Florida 2000 or Minnesota 2008, so nothing’s getting decided tonight up there. For that matter, it looks like nothing’s getting decided in Washington and Colorado either: Rossi is still trailing Murray by a point with 62 percent reporting and Ken Buck leads Michael Bennet by less than half a point with 73 percent in. Absentees may well end up deciding those too.

As of 3:20 ET, the NYT’s House tracker has the GOP at +59 with more than 20 House races still to be called. Odds are fair that they’ll break 70 or get awfully close; if you’re pulling the all-nighter, keep watching that page.

David Strom 6:41 PM on September 26, 2022