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Begich Will Be Alaska’s First U.S. Senate Democrat Since Gravel

Democrat Mark Begich will win the Alaska Senate race.

With 14,626 counted of the roughly 24,000 ballots left to count today, Begich’s lead over Republican Ted Stevens is now, 2,374. The remaining results are expected to arrive later this afternoon. Stevens would have to win by a margin of over 25% of the outstanding ballots to tie Begich.

That would require something of a Gravelanche.

[UPDATE]: 8,212 more ballots in, that should be it except a few straggling votes. Begich by 3,724. Recount would cost $15,000.

Currently, Begich leads by 0.77%, which is outside the free 0.5% recount zone. The recount fee is a paltry $15,000, not a sum Stevens has ever had trouble acquiring via one means or another. Given his likely expulsion by either the Republican caucus or the U.S. Senate as a whole (though we are in “reconciliation” mode, so who knows?), it seems unlikely anyone besides Stevens himself would have the desire to pursue such action. Still, the Anchorage Daily News calls such a recount “likely.”

Congratulations, Senator Begich.