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Making sense of the midterms

ALASKA: The AP: "Sen. Lisa Murkowski retained 89 percent of the undisputed write-in votes in Alaska's still-undecided Senate race, as the fifth day of the ballot hand count ended. Her campaign hoped she'd be able to overtake rival Joe Miller as early as Sunday, but counters got through fewer than 5,000 ballots -- far fewer than they'd been generally averaging since the count began Wednesday. Murkowski mounted a write-in campaign after losing the GOP primary to Miller. On Sunday, she trailed Miller by 8,820 votes, according to her undisputed tally.

MINNESOTA: Democrat Mark Dayton's lawyers say they don't agree that Gov. Tim Pawlenty is constitutionally required to stay in office if the race to replace him isn't resolved by early January," AP writes, adding, "The [state] constitution says a governor's term runs four years but remains in office 'until a successor is chosen and qualified.'" Dayton's lawyer "says Dayton appears to have been 'chosen' by voters and is 'qualified' to serve."

“The initial vote canvass in the Minnesota governor's race between Democrat Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer may be completed by next Saturday. About 8,700 votes separate the two, in Dayton's favor. While there is a nearly 9,000 vote difference between the two men, the difference is just enough that by law, a recount can be triggered," local affiliate KSFY writes. "Dayton's camp is urging Tom Emmer to decline the mandatory recount." Dayton's campaign manager: "It will be mathematically impossible for Tom Emmer to overturn these results, barring some unforeseen problem which we haven't seen in this canvassing process."