The Senate Guru blog at Huffington Post has the following:
Allen Buckley was the Libertarian Party’s nominee for U.S. Senate in Georgia in 2008. On Election Day, Buckley took 3.4% of the vote. Buckley’s 128,000 votes would have put either Democrat Jim Martin or Republican Saxby Chambliss over the 50% mark, avoiding a run-off.
Of course, as neither Chambliss nor Martin scored over 50%, there is a run-off. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution recently asked: “How will Libertarians affect Georgia runoff?” Well, we may just find out. While Buckley has made it clear that he is not prepared at this time to endorse either Martin or Chambliss, he did respond to a couple of policy questions from the Senate Guru. Buckley’s answers suggest a discontentment with Saxby Chambliss and an openness to (perhaps even a preference for) Jim Martin.
Here are my questions and Buckley’s answers:
Senate Guru: Do you believe that Saxby Chambliss’ position on the Wall Street bailout has been fiscally responsible?
Allen Buckley: Something needed to be done, but I wouldn’t have voted for the bail-out bill. No, I don’t think his position was fiscally responsible.
Senate Guru: Speaking as a Libertarian, which remaining candidate do you think would be more proactive in restoring the civil liberties of Georgians and acting appropriately in response to the Bush Administration’s practice of wiretapping Americans’ phones without warrants?
Allen Buckley: Jim Martin
Simple as that. Buckley considers Chambliss’ position on the Wall Street bail-out to be fiscally irresponsible, and he says Jim Martin would be more proactive on specific issues of concern to Libertarian voters. The 128,000 Georgians who voted for Allen Buckley for Senate could prove pivotal in the December 2nd run-off between Jim Martin and Saxby Chambliss.
Recently, Georgia Libertarian Brandon Givens endorsed Democrat Jim Powell in the Public Service Commissioner runoff. Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr, a former Republican Congressman from Georgia, had hoped to divert conservative votes from McCain and deliver the state’s electoral votes to Obama, but was not successful in that endeavor.
Two other US Senate races remained to be officially decided well after the election.
In Alaska, Democrat Mark Begich has now defeated Ted Stevens.
Begich, Stevens’s Democratic challenger, ended the longest-serving Republican senator’s 40-year legislative career with a dramatic, come-from-behind victory as the last ballots were counted in Alaska. Media outlets called the race for Begich around 8:30 p.m. EDT with Begich leading by 150,708 to 147,004 — a margin of 3,724 ballots with only 2,500 left uncounted.
“I am humbled and honored to serve Alaska in the United States Senate,” Begich said in a statement. “It’s been an incredible journey getting to this point, and I appreciate the support and commitment of the thousands of Alaskans who have brought us to this day. I can’t wait to get to work fighting for Alaskan families.”
The news hit Stevens towards the end of his 85th birthday, on a day when he narrowly averted expulsion from the Senate Republican Conference. Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) had proposed a motion expelling Stevens, but withdrew it Tuesday morning.
The Washington Post explains:
After being found guilty last month of failing to disclose more than $250,000 in gifts, Stevens — the longest-serving Republican in Senate history — returned to Alaska for a one-week campaign to keep his seat. His biggest obstacles appeared to be a potential prison sentence and his Democratic opponent, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich.
Little did he know that one Bob Bird, the nominee of the conservative Alaska Independence Party, would stand in his way by grabbing 4 percent of the vote.
When a majority of votes were counted on Election Day, Stevens held a 3,200-vote lead. Last week, after 70,000 more votes were tallied, Begich pulled ahead by more than 1,000 votes, with fewer than 30,000 remaining to be counted Tuesday.
Bird — running a conservative antiabortion, pro-gun-rights campaign — has collected 12,144 votes. Bird may end up being the most important third-party candidate in the 2008 race, possibly more so than Minnesota’s Dean Barkley, who took 15 percent of the vote but appears to have taken roughly even amounts from Republican Sen. Norm Coleman and Democratic challenger Al Franken.
Bird’s support almost certainly came from conservatives who never would have voted for Begich. This Bob Bird, as a critic of the pork-barreling Stevens, is nothing like Robert C. Byrd-with-a-y. Bird, a 57-year-old native of Illinois, moved to Alaska in 1977 and has been a high school social studies teacher ever since, as well as a radio broadcaster for the Peninsula Oilers of the Alaska Baseball League.
A supporter of Pat Buchanan’s third-party presidential bids in 1996 and 2000, Bird also ran as a Republican in the 1990 primary against Stevens, taking 30 percent of the vote.
In Minnesota, the recount begins today. Only a 215-vote margin separates Democrats from another Senate seat.
Another close race where independents and smaller parties may have made the difference is Oregon, where the Constitution Party’s David Brownlow had well over the difference that sent incumbent Republican Gordon Smith packing.
Yesterday, the Democrats voted to keep Joe Lieberman as their top man on the Homeland Security committee, lowering the chances that he will quit the Democratic Caucus or the Senate.
If the Minnesota recount goes in favor of the Democrats, the Georgia race will decide whether the Democrats get a filibuster-proof 60 seats in the Senate. This may once again put independents and smaller parties, especially the Libertarians, in a deciding role in key Senate contests. In 2006, Libertarians in Missouri and Montana may have swung close Senate races, shifting control of the Senate to the Democrats.