By DAVID AMMONS
OLYMPIA — Democrat Maria Cantwell, hoping to pick off Sen. Slade Gorton and give the Democrats a 50-50 tie in the U.S. Senate, moved to within 4,255 votes of the senator on Friday as votes were tallied in her strongest region, populous King County.
The Republican incumbent’s campaign remained confident of victory, even as Cantwell continued to project a come-from-behind win when a large clump of absentees are counted next week.
Nearly 165,000 votes were counted Friday, mostly in King County, where Cantwell was outpolling Gorton with about 56 percent of the vote, and in Yakima and Clallam counties, which continued to side with Gorton, the three-term incumbent. King County includes heavily Democratic Seattle.
Cantwell, a dotcom millionaire who served in the Legislature for six years and in the U.S. House for one term, gained some ground on Gorton. She picked up 83,016 votes. Gorton picked up fewer votes statewide, 77,259.
Jeff Jared, the Libertarian candidate, picked up 3,810 votes.
Gorton’s grand total now stands at 977,511 votes to Cantwell’s 973,256, a difference of one-fifth of 1 percent. Jared has 51,420 votes.
More than 2 million votes have been counted in the race so far. Secretary of State Ralph Munro estimates that 350,000 to 400,000 mail-in ballots remain to be counted. No significant new vote totals are expected until Monday.
Both the Cantwell and Gorton camps said the outcome of the race may be clear on Tuesday, when a number of populous counties, including King, are expected to announce new tallies.
"We’re very encouraged," said Gorton spokeswoman Cynthia Bergman. "We are cautiously optimistic. Maria knows the numbers she needed in King County — like 60-40 — and she’s not getting this. She is at 56 percent in the county, whereas she was getting 59 percent on election day."
She said Gorton analysts found a small Republican lift in the absentee votes in the rest of the state.
But Cantwell spokesman Ellis Conklin said: "We’re feeling confident of winning. The numbers look good to us. We have another 170,000 coming to count in King."
Cantwell is "basically laying low" this weekend, calling supporters, writing thank-you notes and resting, he said. She saw the movie "The Contender" while waiting for more returns, he said.
"This will be the first weekend she has had off since last December," he said. As for the wait in finding out if she wins or loses, "It has been such a long campaign, what’s three more days?"
If Cantwell wins the race, the Senate will have a 50-50 tie unless Gore wins the presidency and his vice president, Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, turns over his seat to a Republican appointee.
If Bush wins the White House, his vice president, Dick Cheney, would be able to break ties in the 50-50 Senate.
If Gorton wins, the Republicans get 51 seats. If Gorton and Gore win, the GOP will have 52 seats.
Copyright ©2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Talk to us
- You can tell us about news and ask us about our journalism by emailing email@example.com or by calling 425-339-3428.
- If you have an opinion you wish to share for publication, send a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail to The Daily Herald, Letters, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206.
- More contact information is here.