On A Knife-Edge: Several Statehouses Still Up For Grabs

Here is the latest on some key gubernatorial races, which were not resolved as of last night:

• In Connecticut, where Republican Gov. Jodi Rell was not seeking re-election, Republican Tom Foley and Democrat Dan Malloy have been locked in a tight race. As of this moment, with 92% of precincts reporting, Malloy now leads by about 1,600 votes out of over a million cast.

As the Hartford Courant reports, there could be some litigation over a two-hour voting extension that a judge ordered yesterday in some precincts in Bridgeport, due to an early ballot shortage:

Republicans intend to challenge any ballots cast after 8 p.m. at 12 polling places in the city. Those votes were being counted as provisional ballots and would be kept separate from the others, the judge ruled.

This race could trigger Connecticut’s first statewide recount since 1994. Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz told the paper that it could take weeks to have a result.

• In Illinois, Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn — who succeeded to the office after the impeachment and removal of Dem Gov. Rod Blagojevich – is surprisingly ahead of Republican state Sen. Bill Brady, after trailing in nearly every poll of the race for the whole cycle. (Not to mention a bloodbath for Democrats in President Obama’s home state, including the loss of his old Senate seat and three House seats, with a possible fourth House loss.)

With 99% of precincts reporting, Quinn leads by 0.3%, a raw-vote margin of about 8,300 votes. Quinn has declared victory, while Brady is refusing to concede. As the Chicago Tribune reports:

Ballots in more than 200 precincts across the state had not been counted, more than half from Chicago and suburban Cook County that likely would lean toward Quinn. But Brady’s camp cautioned that “thousands” of other forms of votes — such as absentee and military ballots — had yet to be counted.

• In Maine, where Democratic Gov. John Baldacci was term-limited, it is now a tight result between Republican Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler, with Democrat Libby Mitchell in a distant third. The Bangor Daily News reports:

Neither candidate was declaring victory or conceding defeat as the margin between the two stayed near a single percentage point. As of 9:45 a.m., several key precincts, such as Rockland, Scarborough and Waterville, had yet to report their unofficial results to the Bangor Daily News, which on election night tabulates the numbers for the state.

According to the unofficial results, LePage had 38.1 percent of the vote compared with Cutler’s 36.7 percent with 92 percent of precincts reporting.

The margin between the candidates, which shrunk at times Tuesday evening and early Wednesday morning to just a handful of votes, was fewer than 7,500 votes.

• In Minnesota, where Republican Governor and potential presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty was not seeking re-election, this race could potentially go to a recount, with Democratic former U.S. Mark Dayton leading Republican state Rep. Tom Emmer by 0.43%, a raw-vote margin of about 9,000.

See more of my analysis here, as an experienced watcher of Minnesota elections (and a certain past Minnesota recount for the U.S. Senate).

• In Oregon, this one is a squeaker in the race to succeed term-limited Democratic Gov. Ted Kulongoski. With 81% of the estimated total ballots counted under the state’s mail-in voting system, former pro basketball player Chris Dudley leads former Dem Gov. John Kitzhaber by 49.2%-47.9%, a raw-vote lead of about 15,000. However, as the state’s major newspaper The Oregonian reports:

Dudley clung to a slim lead, but Kitzhaber was expected to make up the difference as tens of thousands of votes remained to be tallied in Democrat-rich Multnomah County, where he has been getting 70 percent of the vote.

According to an analysis by The Oregonian, Kitzhaber will eke out a win if the trend continues.

Late Update: The Maine gubernatorial race has been decided for the Republican Paul LePage

Late Late Update Democrat Dan Malloy has been declared the winner in the Connecticut race, with the Secretary of State saying there would be no need for a recount.