Democrat Mark Begich has taken the lead—by 814 votes—over Ted Stevens in the race for the Senate in Alaska, reports FiveThirtyEight.com. With about 40,000 absentee votes still to be counted, Begich leads 132,196 to 131,382. When the day began, Begich trailed by more than 3,000 votes. "Given where we expect the remaining votes are located, this looks very good for Begich," writes Sean Quinn of FiveThirtyEight.
If Begich pulls it out, he keeps alive Democrats' hopes of attaining a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate. They have 57 right now, with races in Georgia and Minnesota yet to be decided. A Begich victory also would remove a quicker path to higher office for Gov. Sarah Palin, given that Stevens would likely have to step aside if he wins because of his felony convictions.