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Down the ballot: Begich's lead increases

ALASKA: Per the Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is in grave danger of losing re-election after Mark Begich widened his lead to 1,022 votes Friday. More than 90 percent of the votes are now counted, and Friday's count of absentee and questioned ballots could have been Stevens' best chance to make a comeback. That's because it included all the ballots left from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, where Stevens has enjoyed his most unwavering support." 

"There are about 24,000 ballots left to be counted, coming from Anchorage, Southeast Alaska and the Kenai Peninsula. The state will tally them all Tuesday." 

GEORGIA: "Georgia supporters of the fair tax turned out en masse Sunday to cheer the idea of a national sales tax, which has become a thorny issue in the state's high-profile Dec. 2 U.S. Senate runoff. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won Georgia's GOP presidential primary in February, joined about 2,000 people Sunday afternoon at the Gwinnett Civic Center in what became not just fair-tax rally, but a major campaign stop for Republican incumbent U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Moultrie. Chambliss backs the fair tax, which would abolish the Internal Revenue Service and replace the federal income tax and most other federal taxes. Democratic challenger Jim Martin of Atlanta opposes it." 

According to the Martin campaign, Bill Clinton will rally for Martin in Atlanta on Wednesday.

ILLINOIS: Replacing Obama. "Congressman Danny Davis says he wants to replace Barack Obama as the junior senator from Illinois. The Democrat's declaration came at a news conference in Chicago on Sunday. ... A coalition of black Illinois politicians endorsed the 67-year-old Davis at the event. Davis is also black."

MINNESOTA: "Although he doesn't have a seat, Al Franken will have the floor Tuesday when he meets with Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate," the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. "Franken, who is locked in a mandatory recount of the Nov. 4 balloting with Republican incumbent Sen. Norm Coleman, will update Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and others on the recount process, said his spokeswoman, Colleen Murray. The Senate leaders and the candidate also will talk about upcoming legislation, she said. 'If he should win this election, it would be irresponsible for him not to get ready to take office,' she said. 'Minnesota deserves a senator who is ready to take office on Day One.'"

"Franken, who was last in Washington in September, will skip a scheduled orientation for new senators also scheduled for this week. Attending that, Murray said, would be 'presumptuous.'Coleman's communications director, Mark Drake, upped that ante, calling it 'highly presumptuous for Mr. Franken to undertake such a visit when his real purpose appears to be fundraising and gaining partisan advantage from non-Minnesotans.'"

NEW YORK: Replacing Hillary? "Rep. Nydia Velazquez is the front-runner -- for now, at least -- to replace Hillary Clinton if she becomes the next secretary of state, a source close to Gov. Paterson said yesterday," the New York Daily News' Benjamin reports. "There are two other top contenders: Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo and Rep. Steve Israel of Long Island."

What could have been... Eliot Spitzer had a School of Hard Knocks prescription for Wall St. in a Sunday Washington Post op-ed. We noted when the economic collapse hit that had it not been for sex scandals, two Democrats stood to gain -- John Edwards and Spitzer.