Race Up in Air Early Wednesday Morning
As of this writing, Kerry could still win, but it won’t be easy. Bush has a very small lead in Ohio, of about 100,000, at 1:40 am. But the Democrats maintain that there are over 200,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted, and that they could make up the difference. CNN is saying that it is believed that the provisional ballots are largely Democratic.
An Ohio official, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, is saying on CNN that the provisional ballots won’t be counted for 11 days.
Kerry is leading in Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, so if Ohio broke for Kerry he might be able to win. Last I knew, Nevada seemed to be leaning to Kerry, amazingly enough.
It looks to me as though we may be in for another cliff-hanger, if Bush does not pull ahead by a bigger margin (those of you who read this Wednesday morning, be kind; as I’m writing, it just isn’t clear). And, if it is true that some late reporting districts are around Cleveland and Cincinnati, Bush’s margin may shrink further (it has already shrunk since a couple of hours ago). There appear to be 387,000 regular votes to be counted, along with the provisional ballots. Enough of these may be in rural counties to allow Bush to pull 200,000 votes ahead over night. If he did that, then the provisional ballots couldn’t outweigh it.
A Kerry win in the electoral college under these circumstances, where Bush will win the popular vote big time and the Republicans have strong control of both houses of congress, will be extremely problematic.
After what happened to Gore in 2000, when he prematurely conceded the election, the Kerry team is simply not going to allow any concession speeches with 200,000 provisional ballots yet to be counted and Bush ahead in Ohio only by 100,000.
CNN is saying that the only way Bush can win decisively this morning is for him to take 4 of the 6 remaining states, not counting Iowa, including Nevada, Hawaii, etc. It could happen, but right now it looks as though Bush will fall slightly short.
Jeffrey Toobin is saying that even small groups can demand a recount in Ohio. Such a demand is likely to be launched, there and in New Mexico. In Iowa and New Mexico, CNN analysts are saying that the late-counted absentee ballots could make the difference (and did, last time).
CNN is now saying that Iowa is announcing that some of its paper count machines have broken down, which will delay a final count until later on Wednesday. But Iowa is likely going to Bush anyway.
I suppose we should all just go to bed. It may well not be over for a while. Actually, that is the good news at this point. It certainly doesn’t look good for Kerry.