Democrats: We won. Republicans: Wait

The state of play in Montana and Virginia.

Tim Grieve
November 8, 2006 9:42PM (UTC)

The networks haven't called Montana and Virginia for the Democrats, but Chuck Schumer's Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee remains adamant that Jon Tester and Jim Webb have already won.

From DSCC spokesman Phil Singer: "Both Jon Tester and Jim Webb have won their races in Montana and Virginia but want to make sure that every vote is counted. We expect to have official results soon but can happily declare today that Democrats have taken the majority in the U.S. Senate."


In Montana, Tester now leads Burns by more than 3,000 votes, and Singer said earlier this morning from Silver Bow County -- a "Democratic stronghold" -- that votes were still being counted. "We expect to gain the majority of these uncounted votes and to add to Tester's margin," Singer said. When all the votes are counted, he says, Democrats expect Tester's lead to be "outside the recount margin."

In Virginia, Webb is up by about 8,000 votes, and Singer said that the Democrats still expect his lead to increase as additional ballots are counted. "Because of Virginia voting laws, the margin would have to be much tighter than it currently is to see any change in the outcome," he said. "Given the current margins, that is highly, highly unlikely."

It's not clear whether Republicans share that assessment, but it is clear that Allen has no plans to concede anytime soon. Appearing before the TV cameras a few minutes ago, Allen advisor and former RNC chairman Ed Gillespie stressed that a canvass of the votes is required by law, that it's something that happens in the normal course of events, and that it may take a long time to complete. He also said that elections officials in one county have already discovered a tabulation error that has caused them to subtract about 1,000 votes from Webb's total. Message: The election isn't over yet, and nobody should be expecting a final result too soon.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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