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Please begin with an informative title:

Last night, the MSM -- and sleazy, smarmy, crooked, vacuous real estate speculator and failed banker Dino Rossi -- finally acknowledged what I (and others) have been saying since Tuesday evening ... that Patty Murray has been re-elected to the United States Senate for her fourth term!

Rossi conceded at about 6pm Thursday.  His concession statement (warning: Rossi's site) runs 390 words, and here are all that refer to the candidate who just whipped his ass:

This evening, I called Senator Murray to offer my congratulations on her re-election to the U.S. Senate.
Stay classy, Dino!

His concession was doubtless prompted by the sight of a second straight day during which Patty's share of the tally was higher than on the previous day.  And by the prospect that King County's extraordinarily high turnout will continue to build Patty's margin.

Overall, through Thursday Patty leads Dino 51.3% to 48.7%, and her vote count tops Rossi by more than 46,000.  As we'll see below the fold, Patty's strength also appears to be making a difference in other Washington State races.

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I completed my data entry for Thursday's vote count in Washington State late last night.  I almost posted this diary at that point, but chose to wait until today.  And I'm glad I did.  Reviewing the latest results on the WA SoS site, I saw that a number of Democrats in other races around the state were also displaying greatly improved results.  After a walk through the Thursday results in the Murray-Rossi race, I'll show you what I saw.

During the day on Thursday, 22 of the 39 counties added ballots to their totals, counting a total of 207,170 votes in the Senate race.  Patty Murray received 113,085 (54.6%) of those votes, with smarmy huckster Dino Rossi pulling down the remaining 94,085 votes, 45.4% of the day's total.

As she did on Wednesday, Patty increased her percentage of the vote in most of the reporting counties, 16 of the 22.  But that doesn't come close to describing how she dominated the day.  You see, the counties in which Murray did worse on Thursday than she had been doing theretofore (Asotin, Clark, Cowlitz, Grant, Lewis, and Pend Oreille) tallied only 27,836 of the day's ballots.  That is, a mere 13.4% of the Thursday votes were from counties where Patty underperformed.  Counties where she outperformed her previous level comprised 86.6% of the day's counted ballots.

King County led the way for Patty on Thursday.  The 69,665 votes they tallied were 33.6% of the day's count.  And Patty pulled in well over two-thirds of those votes, 47,589 (68.3%).  That compares very favorably to the cumulative 62.6% she had won in King over the first two days of counting.  In addition, King County Elections appears to have caught up with the flood of ballots they've received, as the number of ballots that have been verified as valid but not yet counted leapt to an astonishing 270,000.  Then again, they still have some more verification processing to do, since the USPS delivered another 62,847 ballots on Thursday.  Because King County's careful and comprehensive procedures for ballot verification consume about two days, those ballots won't be tallied until next Monday at the earliest.

That last figure may help non-Washingtonians to understand how thoroughly King County dominates the state's political outcomes.  The number of ballots straggling into King County Elections two days after Election Day is greater than the total number of registered voters in all but 10 other counties in the state.

Other large, blue counties also contributed to the overall increase in Patty's share of the vote:

  • Snohomish County counted 22,775 ballots, with Patty winning 52.8% of them.  Her previous cumulative percentage had been 51.5%.  Snohomish reports 88,000 ballots waiting to be counted, 3000 more than they estimated yesterday.
  • It was a very good day for Patty in Whatcom County, as she pulled in 54.9% of the 6145 tallied votes.  That's appreciably better than the 51.0% pace she'd established earlier.
  • In Thurston County, Murray received 56.2% of the day's 7678 votes.  That's only slightly better than her prior 56.1%, but Olympia and environs are solid blue.
  • Kitsap County appeared to choose to lean ever-so-slightly Democratic, as 52.0% of its 7423 new votes went to Patty.  Kitsap flipped to a pale aquamarine (cumulative 50.3%) on Wednesday, so the Wednesday performance was, by comparison, a Democratic avalanche.

Patty even won the day in several red counties. For instance, she took 50.7% of Island County's 4031 Wednesday ballots, though her overall votes percentage there is 49.7%.  Pierce always seems to hover near the break-even point, and Patty's 50.6% on Wednesday (22,891 ballots) hardly budged her cumulative 49.7% mark.  And then there's Klickitat County, where Murray's 52.9% (359 of 688 ballots) was shockingly high.  It raised her cumulative share of the small county's overall vote from 41.4% to 42.3%.

Based on the results reported on the Washington Secretary of State's website through Wednesday, and extrapolating each county's current Murray and Rossi percentages to include the county's waiting-for-processing ballots, my projection for the final result has risen to 52.0% to 48.0%.  Compare that to yesterday's projection of 50.9%-49.1% (narrower than today's actual margin) and the Tuesday projection of 50.3%-49.7%.  Yes, these have been two excellent days for Patty Murray!

In my estimation, though, the final result could very well be more decisive than this projection suggests.  No, Patty won't get to a double-figures margin, as I'd been predicting for months, but it will be a comfortable win.

As I mentioned earlier, Patty has been displaying good, strong coattails as well.  For most Kossacks, the obvious and important example of this factor is Washington's 2nd Congressional District, where incumbent Democrat Rick Larsen is in a tight battle with tea-hadist John Koster.  Larsen trailed by 1429 votes (49.6%-50.4%) after the first night's ballot drop, which probably explains why Stephen Colbert put him on last night's roster of defeated Representatives he had better known.  By last night, however, Larsen had completely reversed the race, leading Koster by 1451 votes.  Larsen picked up 53.2% of Wednesday's and Thursday's 45,498 ballots.

Similar events have transpired in state legislative races.  Like WA-02, three of those races have flipped from Republican to Democratic leads:

  • In LD-01 (Snohomish and a small piece of King) House Position 2, my friend Luis Moscoso trailed tea-hadist Heidi Munson by 404 votes (49.3%-50.7%) on Tuesday.  As of Thursday evening, Luis had edged ahead by 20 votes.  His Wednesday-Thursday percentage was 52.7% of the 7838 newly-counted ballots.
  • Remember Girl Scout-hating young wackjob Hans Zeiger?  The odious GOP candidate for LD-25 (Pierce) House Position 2 was 186 votes ahead of incumbent Democrat Dawn Morrell as of Tuesday, but trailed by 100 votes by Thursday evening.  Morrell came through with 51.4% of the 10,592 Wednesday-Thursday votes.
  • Senator Rodney Tom of LD-48 (King) was behind big-spending Greg Bennett by 133 votes (49.7%-50.3%) after the first night's ballots were counted.  Since then, however, the incumbent has stomped all over his challenger; he's now leading by 635 votes (51.0%-49.0%).  In the last two days, Senator Tom has taken 55.3% of the 7202 added votes.

In a couple of other Legislative Districts, Democratic incumbents still trail their challengers but have made up a lot of ground in the last two days.  Kelli Linville of LD-42 (Whatcom) House Position 2 was far behind Vincent Buys after the first day's count -- 1519 votes behind, 47.8%-52.2%.  Since then, 8515 new votes have been tallied, of which Linville won 53.6%.  She's still 900 votes back (49.0%-51.0%), but she still has a chance to win.  The chances are much greater in LD-45 (King) House Position 1, where Roger Goodman was 683 votes (48.8%-51.2%) behind challenger Kevin Haistings as of Tuesday.  Goodman trailed by only 78 votes by last night, winning 53.6% of the 8411 additional ballots and standing at 49.9%-50.1%.

Finally, quite a few Democrats had built very small Tuesday leads into larger advantages by Thursday.  The poster child for this phenomenon is Senator Steve Hobbs of LD-44 (Snohomish), who was precisely 8 votes up on Dave Schmidt on Tuesday, but led by 256 (50.3%-49.7%) after taking 51.3% of the 9294 Wednesday-Thursday votes.  In the same LD, progressive House Position 1 incumbent Hans Dunshee had taken Tuesday's 221 vote lead over Republican Bob McCaughan (50.4%-49.6%) up to 1043 (51.3%-48.7%) by Thursday, winning 54.4% of the 9358 newly-tallied votes.  In LD-28 (Pierce) House Position 2, incumbent Tami Green raised her 172 vote lead (50.3%-49.7%) over Paul Wagemann to 921 votes (51.3%-48.7%) by taking 55.0% of the 7443 new votes.  And in LD-48 (King) House Position 1, Ross Hunter's advantage over former WA-GOP chair Diane Tebelius rose from 368 votes (50.8%-49.2%) to a solid 1355 (52.2%-47.8%); that's what happens when you win 56.9% of 7133 votes.

I'm not saying that all of these trends (and others unmentioned) will continue.  Perhaps some of these beneficiaries of Patty Murray's coattails won't make it after all the ballots are counted.  But it's quite clear that what could have been a state-level debacle -- there was talk of a Republican majority in the State Senate -- has been averted.  Thanks, in great measure, to the long coattails of tiny powerhouse Patty Murray.

Thanks for paying attention during this brief foray back into the vote-count reporting game.  It's been fun.  Thankfully, it's been quick.  And best of all, the outcome is really a great pleasure.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Peace Tree Farm on Fri Nov 05, 2010 at 03:01 PM PDT.

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