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M$ Senator Gorton loses, won't concede till re-count

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Former RealNetworks exec Maria Cantwell (Democrat) with 1,199,260 votes has just edged out Senator from Microsoft Slade Gorton with 1,197,307 for a difference of only 1953 in the Washington State Senate race.

Because of the close shave, a machine re-count will be required under state law. Election officials say it will begin early next week and reckon it should be finished mid-week.

"I look forward to this challenge and the process that is still yet to take place in the next several weeks," Cantwell said simply.

Gorton was far from conceding. "Prior to this week's tally of special ballots, I was cautiously optimistic; now I'm cautiously pessimistic about the outcome," he said.

So long as no one starts talking about manual re-counts and pregnant chads, we suppose it will go all right.

Gorton may have hanged himself with his opposition to hydroelectric dam modifications which would have improved the salmon runs. The issue is popular among the state's salmon-loving citizens, and Gorton could easily have won himself a heap of votes at the expense of modest industry contributions had he gone the other way.

Assuming the machine re-count doesn't change the balance, and no one insists on contesting further, Cantwell's election will have an interesting effect on the US Senate's party composition, and probably result in more than the usual bickering and back-stabbing on Capitol Hill.

If Bush wins the White House, the Senate will be composed of fifty Democrats and fifty Republicans, with Republican Veep Dick Cheney breaking ties whenever the vote is split precisely along partisan lines.

Considering the acrimony over the presidential race on Capitol Hill, this is something we can all look forward to, regardless of who wins.

If Gore wins the White House, the Senate will have forty-nine Democrats and fifty-one Republicans, with Democrat Veep Joe Lieberman breaking occasional ties for the Democrats. This situation will occur only when one more Republican than Democrat should abstain or fail to show up for a vote. ®

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