Nine Weeks Left

There are now nine weeks until Election Day and if Republicans are to maximize their victory totals, they have to find a way to put out some brush fires along the way.

For example, in Florida, where state Attorney General Bill McCollum lost the GOP primary for Governor to outsider Rick Scott, and has refused to endorse Scott.

That’s not exactly the formula for a win in November for the GOP.

Some wonder whether McCollum will come around.  He made the same kind of statement back in 2004 when he lost to Mel Martinez in the Republican Senate Primary, but then endorsed Martinez, who was the ultimate winner.

Another example comes from Washington State, where Republican Clint Didier finished a distant third with 12.5% of the vote in the race for Senate, but is refusing to endorse Republican Dino Rossi, unless Rossi comes out in favor of a series of Tea Party backed ideas.

“We’re not quite sure how 12.5 percent of the vote renders someone a kingmaker,” said an editorial in the Yakima Herald-Republic. “Lost on Didier is why 87.5 percent of those who bothered to vote did so for someone else.”

Let’s just say Didier drags his feet for awhile.  Every day that goes by probably makes it less and less likely that Republicans will have a chance to defeat Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

Then you have Alaska, where elections officials will start counting absentee ballots today to determine the winner of the Republican Senate Primary, where Sen. Lisa Murkowski trails challenger Joe Miller by 1,668 votes.

Almost 16,000 absentee ballots have been sent in already, and officials must also deal with about 9,000 disputed ballots as well.

Recent days have seen a lot of sniping between the Murkowski and Miller camps, and Murkowski has not closed the door on a possible bid as a Libertarian candidate if she loses this race.

Obviously that could open things up for the Democrats to have an unexpected chance to win a Senate seat, or at least force Republicans to spend money on a race that most GOP operatives figured was in the bag for November.

So we’ll see whether today’s numbers expand the lead of Miller or give Murkowski a fighting chance to keep her seat in the Senate.

Murkowski can take some hope in what happened two years ago as Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) led by a few hundred votes after Election Day, but when the absentees were counted, he was dumped out of office.

63 days left.