[bump - Barb]
Update: The Seattle Times has a breaking headline: "Sen. Patty Murray wins fourth term"
Sen. Patty Murray has won a fourth term, riding a wave of strong Democratic support in King County to defeat Republican challenger Dino Rossi.
As of Thursday evening, Murray was leading Rossi by more than 45,000 votes, taking 51 percent to Rossi's 49 percent. That's up from a 14,000-vote lead on Election Day.
According to a Seattle Times analysis, Rossi would need to get about 54 percent of the estimated 591,000 uncounted ballots statewide to overcome Murray's lead.
But nearly 264,000 of those ballots are in King County. Murray's already commanding lead there has only expanded since Election Day. She took 68 percent of the 69,000 King County ballots counted Thursday.
Congratulations, Sen. Murray!
Update 2: And, Rossi released this statement to the media:
"This evening, I called Senator Murray to offer my congratulations on her re-election to the U.S. Senate."
Our long, Washington nightmare of Dino Rossi might have come to an end.
The next batch of King County votes is in, and Murray's state-wide lead widens. Goldy's got the quick and dirty:
King County just released results for another 70,821 ballots, which broke 67.3% in favor of Patty Murray, compared to 66.7% on 11/3 and 61.8% on 11/2. Murray has temporarily opened up a 3% lead statewide, pending returns from other counties.
I'm not so sure that's going to be a temporary 3% statewide lead, given the fact that King County ballots are going to totally swamp the rest of the count. Seriously, we "shattered" midterm voting turnout records and surpassed all expectations with a 71 percent turnout, so far. (There are probably a few ballots, at least, still in the mail.)
The very strong break for Dems in late balloting isn't just helping Murray, and it's not just limited to King County. It's given Rep. Rick Larsen a slim lead, and is boosting Dem legislative candidates. My theory? Western Washingtonians saw Rand Paul elected on late Tuesday afternoon, Pacific time, and decided they'd better get their asses in gear and their ballots cast.
N in Seattle has lots more details and number-crunching in his diary.
And it's time to start asking, when is this one going to be called for Murray?