POLITICS
12/13/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Neck And Neck: Senate Races Deadlocked

The three Senate races that will determine whether the Democrats gain that coveted 60-seat majority are still deadlocked - by the slimmest of margins in Alaska and Minnesota, and by a tense runoff in Georgia.

In Alaska, Democratic challenger Mark Begich overtook the lead on Wednesday as thousands of new ballots were counted, holding a 814 vote advantage over Sen. Ted Stevens at the end of the day:

Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, the titan of Alaska politics convicted of felony charges last month, fell behind by more than 800 votes Wednesday as the count resumed in his re-election bid.

Democrat Mark Begich, the two-term mayor of Anchorage, began the day down more than 3,200 votes but went up by 814 as officials resumed their counting of early and absentee ballots. The tally was 132,196 to 131,382.

Neither side was claiming victory or conceding defeat, with tens of thousands of outstanding ballots.

"I've always said that this would be a close race," Begich said in a statement. "I'm confident that Alaskans, like the rest of the country, want a new direction in Washington, and ultimately that will be reflected in the results."

Stevens' campaign did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

In Minnesota, where the recount will stretch into mid-December, per the Associated Press:

After the two candidates spent nearly $40 million combined - most of it on ads tarring the other - Coleman leads by about 200 votes out of almost 3 million cast. An automatic recount is to start next week.

"This is an extraordinarily close and bitterly fought election, and both candidates have reason to think that they may have won," said Kathryn Pearson, a political scientist at the University of Minnesota. "They're not going to let the final stage of this go down without a fight as well."

In Georgia, per the Wall Street Journal:

In Georgia, Mr. Martin, a former state legislator, stunned political observers by forcing the runoff with Sen. Chambliss, whose seat not long ago was considered safe. The incumbent had a $12 million war chest that dwarfed the $3 million raised by Mr. Martin. The combination of anti-Republican sentiment and Sen. Chambliss's lethargic early campaigning and support for the $700 billion Wall Street bailout changed the dynamics of the race. Final results haven't been certified, but the latest tally released by election officials showed Sen. Chambliss with 49.8% of the vote to Mr. Martin's 46.8%. Libertarian candidate Allen Buckley received 3.4% and won't be in the runoff, which is scheduled for Dec. 2. He hasn't endorsed either of the other candidates.

Sen. John McCain is scheduled to join Sen. Chambliss at a rally Thursday in Atlanta, and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is scheduled to campaign for Sen. Chambliss on Sunday. A Chambliss spokeswoman said the campaign hopes to get several other big-name Republicans to visit the state, such as Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.