Discuss as:

Down the ballot: Begich now leads

ALASKA: "Mark Begich made a dramatic comeback Wednesday to overtake 40-year incumbent Ted Stevens for the lead in Alaska's U.S. Senate race," the Anchorage Daily News writes. "Begich, who was losing after election night, now leads Stevens by 814 votes -- 132,196 to 131,382 -- with the state still to count roughly 40,000 more ballots over the next week. The state Division of Elections tallied about 60,000 absentee, early and questioned ballots from around the state on Wednesday. The ballots broke heavily in the Democrat's favor, erasing the 3,000-vote lead the Republican Stevens held after election night Nov. 4."

Also: "While Stevens' era in the Senate is in danger of ending, another longtime Alaska Republican is returning to Washington, D.C. Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young maintained his solid lead over Democratic challenger Ethan Berkowitz after Wednesday's count. Berkowitz made some headway but Young still led by more than 15,000 votes."

CALIFORNIA: Per NBC's Jeff Hanley, backlash to the passage of California's Prop. 8 continues with the group Join the Impact coordinating the efforts of hundreds of local community organizations to hold protests simultaneously across the nation and abroad in Canada and the UK. Protests against the recently passed California ban on same-sex marriage are scheduled to occur in every US state and major city at 1:30 ET this Saturday.

GEORGIA: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previews McCain's return to the campaign trail.

The AP adds that McCain stumping for Chambliss "is in stark contrast to criticism McCain leveled against Chambliss after he ousted Democrat Max Cleland, a triple amputee wounded in Vietnam, in 2002. McCain, who spent five years as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, condemned a Chambliss ad that questioned Cleland's commitment to national security and flashed a picture of Osama bin Laden. Democrats are now using McCain's comments against Chambliss in an Internet ad of their own. 'I've never seen anything like that ad,' McCain said then. 'Putting pictures of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden next to a picture of a man who left three limbs on the battlefield, it's worse than disgraceful, it's reprehensible.'"

Check out the Martin campaign's quote about an Obama visit. Clearly, they don't expect one.

ILLINOIS: The New York Times writes about the speculation about who will succeed Obama as Illinois senator. A Valerie Jarrett friend says she's not interested in the Illinois Senate seat.

MINNESOTA: Per the Star Tribune, "Minnesota won't know who won the contested U.S. Senate race until at least mid-December, but now the final arbiters for the recount have been named. They include a cast of heavy-hitters topped by Minnesota Supreme Court Chief Justice Eric Magnuson, a former law partner of Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty, three other high-ranking judges and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a DFLer, who made the selections Wednesday."

The paper also has the skinny on the upcoming timeline for the recount. "For now, the grittiest, most challenging work will begin next Wednesday morning, when auditors, clerks, lawyers and volunteers gather in 120 locations across the state to methodically sort ballots, with lawyers from both campaigns at their elbows, in a process expected to last at least until Dec. 5. By Dec. 16, Ritchie said, the Canvassing Board … will start ruling on challenged ballots one by one, in favor of either Republican Sen. Norm Coleman or Democratic challenger Al Franken. Votes for other candidates will not be included in the recount, and ballots where no voter intent can be determined will be set aside."