Getting there

Remember that Senate race between friendly felon Ted Stevens and angry Democrat Mark Begich? Forty thousand absentee and disputed ballots have been counted so far today in Alaska, leaving fifty-five thousand left to count. Here's where it stands:

Begich - 125,019
Stevens - 125,016

Another twenty thousand ballots will be counted tonight, and the remaining ballots over the next week or so.

Obligatory nod to 538:
More to come tonight and in the coming few days to finish off the race, but given where we expect the remaining votes are located, this looks very good for Begich. It looks very bad for Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, and Andrew Sullivan, who probably wanted the material if Sarah Palin were to run to replace Stevens in a special election. |538|

And also too:
The latest tally reflects the counting of absentee ballots -- about 40,000 of them -- and will soon be incorporating about 35,000 more from around the state. Most of the remaining votes appear to be from outlying areas of the state where Begich should do very well. Final results, though, won't be available for a few days, and probably not before the middle of next week. Don't ask me why. People count slowly up here.

But depending on the final tally, America just might owe the Alaskan Independence Party -- whose candidate, Bob Bird, earned more than 10,000 votes -- a modest debt of gratitude. Last time, the AIP received about 3% of the vote; this time, Bird is clearing more than 4%, which would be one of many factors -- the greatest of which would be Stevens himself -- enabling a Democratic win. |LGM: DaveNoon|

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