Montana Politics

12:00 a.m. Time for Burns to Turn into a Pumpkin?

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2:58 a.m. Chris Matthews was promising a Montana update, but no such luck. I need to crash for a few hours. Last results from CNN are trending in the right direction: Tester 149,164 to Burns 143,894. Hopefully, the margin will hold for a couple of hours. I’m feeling good about it.

2:40 a.m. One thing that has been lost in the discussion tonight is just how close the exit polls were. A more cynical person might question why they were so much more accurate than 2004.

2:35 a.m. Okay, one last update, since it is moving in the right direction. 84% in, Tester leads by just over 4,000, 146,672-142,640.

2:21 a.m. Maybe the last update. These are the oustanding counties:

  • Cascade (61% in), Tester currently leads 52-46 there
  • Fergus (25% in), Burns currently leads 61-36 there
  • Gallatin (22% in), Burns currently leads 50-48 there
  • Glacier (50% in), Burns leads 53-45 there
  • Lake (91% in), Burns leads 49-47 there
  • Lewis and Clark (98% in), Tester leads 55-43 there
  • Lincoln (71% in), Burns leads 56-40
  • Meagher (0% in)
  • Yellowstone, (0% in, because of the recount)

2:18 a.m. 83% in; 3,300 vote lead for Tester.

2:07 a.m. A reader dropped some more information about Yellowstone County. This article by Ed Kemmick suggests that the results in Yellowstone might not be set. It also says that last voter voted in Gallatin County at 11:55 p.m. Both of those could lead to interesting changes. This thing is going to be close, close, close.

1:55 a.m. 5:00-7:00 a.m. for a final result: Yellowstone is recounting;, Flathead, Silver Bow, Cascade and some other county (probably Gallatin) to come in. Yellowstone is unlikely to change, according to a reporter from KTVH. I’d definitely take that with a grain of salt. A huge grain of salt. An ocean full of salt. Okay, that’s enough.

1:54 a.m. Down to 4,000 vote difference, with 81% in. Sigh.

1:51 a.m. It seems like Burns complaint about computers in Yellowstone have led to the numbers being pulled. I’m sure the Secretary of State would have pulled votes based on a complaint from Tester, too.

1:28 a.m. Now, CNN and the Secretary of State have Yellowstone at 0 votes. What is going on?

1:27 a.m. Again, it looks grim. We didn’t do enough in Lewis and Clark country, for one. Only 55%-43% is awfully disappointing.

1:25 a.m. CNN has the following counties at less than 100%: Cascade (61%), Fergus (13%), Flathead (71%), Gallatin (2%), Glacier (50%), Silver Bow (44%) and a handful of small counties.

1:15 a.m. Tester’s lead dips under 6,000 votes.

1:14 a.m. Pat Buchanan tells me that tomorrow President Bush is going to come out tomorrow and announce that he is “the decider.” Please let him do that, please.

1:07 a.m. Eight precincts left to count in Virginia somehow. Six of the eight are strong Webb counties. MSNBC says 7,000/11,000 vote lead for Webb.

1:02 a.m. Fox is quite certain that Virginia is still a toss-up, despite Webb’s growing lead.

12:56 a.m. Hard to tell what is more annoying, listening to the panel on MSNBC or the fair and balanced coverage on Fox News. CNN it is.

12:47 a.m. 74% in, 8,000 vote lead for Burns Tester. (Sorry for the scare!) Clearly the MSNBC people have no idea about the election in Montana. Nora O’Donnell is just making stuff up.

12: 46 a.m. From our friends at the National Review:

Democrats continue to be optimistic about the Montana Senate race. Democratic Senate campaign committee spokesman Phil Singer says: “We see Montana going in our direction…We feel like we’ve got it.”

But also:

A spokesman for the Conrad Burns campaign (R) says the race is definitely tightening. However, he admits one distressing signal: that Tester (D) is leading in Yellowstone County, which Republicans HAVE to win to win statewide.”:

Still, he says the race is tight — and won’t be decided for a while. “I don’t think we’ll know for a while.”

12:39 a.m. The Gazette has Tester’s lead down to 7,000. Come on, Montana…don’t let me down.

12:35 a.m. David Shuster is reporting that many Virginia counties will not be counting absentee ballots until tomorrow, but the Webb lead is growing. Webb is up by 11,000 now.

12:28 a.m. Keith Olbermann is reporting that the U.S. Senate is going to come down to Yellowstone County, which Burns is admitting that Tester is currently winning. I’m still scared.

12:25 a.m. I’m not going to lie. I’m nervous that the old crook is going to pull it off. Votes to come in Gallatin, Yellowstone and Flathead scare me, but early returns in Gallatin are less frightening than I thought: Tester up by 130, with 16000 votes in.

About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba is a eighteen-year teacher of English, former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.

His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.

In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it’s a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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