Neck and Neck and Neck and Neck

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Former Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) trails his Democratic opponent in the race to retain his seat, as does former SNLer Al Franken, but both races are far from over.

As of late Wednesday, Stevens trailed Mark Begich by a little over 800 votes, according to state elections officials. If that count stands, and it is a big if, it would mean the exit of one of the longest serving and, at least formerly, one of the most powerful members of the Senate. Stevens gained some measure of pop culture status after famously describing the Internet as a "series of tubes" in a somewhat disjointed description of the Internet that became a YouTube hit straight and as a mashed up music video.

Stevens was recently convicted of failing to report on his financial disclosure forms work done on his House by an oil services company.

His exit would also remove a swift path to the Senate for former Republican VP nominee and briefly TV sports reporter Sarah Palin. Some had speculated that if Stevens wins, the Senate would move to expel him and Palin could run for the seat in a special election–a long shot, but so was Palin’s VP candidacy.

There will almost certainly be a recount, but the initial count still has 70,000 absentee and early ballots to tally and until Nov. 19 to do so.

Elsewhere on the razor-thin, not-yet-decided, media-related Senate race front, former SNL writer and performer and ex-progressive radio talk show host Al Franken continued to trail incumbent Repbublican Norm Coleman, but by only 206 votes according to the office of the Minnesota secretary of state. There will be a recount, since the state requires it if the margin of victory is less than one half or once percent of the votes cast, and likely a legal battle as well.

Results in Minnesota will not be official until certified by the State Canvassing Board Nov. 18, with the recount beginning the next day.

It is still unclear who will be ahead at that time. Vote counts often change between the first, unofficial, tallies and the final certified number. 

For example, in 2006, the difference between candidates Mark Kennedy and Amy Klobuchar changed by 2,100 votes between the early count and the final one. A tenth of that change would be enough to put Franken over the top and make the two thousand and tens the new "Al Franken decade."

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