Democrats win in N.Y., Minnesota; Alaska still Undecided

December 10, 2010

By David Eldridge-The Washington Times

Democrats captured the nation’s last contested gubernatorial and House races Wednesday, a small consolation prize in a year of major Republican gains.

In Minnesota, former Democratic Sen. Mark Dayton completed a remarkable comeback as Republican challenger Tom Emmer conceded the governor’s race, which had appeared headed for a recount. Mr. Dayton eked out a narrow win despite a strong GOP surge in what once was one of the country’s most reliably liberal states.

And on New York’s Long Island, Democratic incumbent Rep. Timothy H. Bishop held on for a 263-vote win over Republican challenger Randy Altschuler in the state’s 1st Congressional District.

With the last results, the GOP House wave of the 2010 midterms officially crested with a 63-seat gain, giving the party a 242-193 majority in the next Congress. Republicans also posted a final net gain of six in the governors’ races, with the tally now 29 GOP governors, 20 Democrats, and independent Gov.-elect Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island.

The results mean that only one major election from the Nov. 2 vote remains undecided — the Alaska Senate contest in which incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski is trying to win a write-in campaign over Joe Miller, the “tea party”-backed lawyer who upset her in the state’s Republican primary.

The end of the Minnesota recount means that Mr. Dayton, 63, returns to public office after leaving the Senate in 2006 following a single term. After he’s sworn in on Jan. 3, the department-store-fortune heir faces a looming $6.2 billion deficit and a Republican-controlled State Legislature.

“Now the real work begins,” the governor-elect said during an afternoon news conference at the state Capitol in St. Paul.

In the New York contest, Mr. Bishop, who first won the seat in 2002, told reporters on a conference call that he was grateful to “withstand a Category 5 storm against incumbents,” according to Associated Press.

Mr. Altschuler, a businessman and former Wall Street banker, congratulated the incumbent in an e-mail statement to reporters, saying a hand recount would “place an unnecessary burden on the taxpayers of Suffolk County.”

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