Democrats had pretty much resigned themselves to the sobering fact that if they want to control the Senate for the next two years, they’ll have to win both special elections in Georgia on January 5. But there had been a very faint glimmer of hope that one other as-yet-decided Senate race, in Alaska, could still produce a surprising win for the party and make their task much easier. As of Election Night, Republican incumbent Dan Sullivan held a lead of tens of thousands of votes and around 30 percentage points in the sparsely populated state. But the Democratic candidate, Al Gross, who had been a prodigious fundraiser this year amid polls that showed a vaguely competitive race, had repeatedly expressed confidence that more than 100,000 mail-in ballots, once tabulated, would put him over the top.
Those dreams were all but dashed Tuesday evening, when the state announced that it had tabulated a good portion of those ballots — and that the results had not made Gross’s task much easier; the Anchorage Daily News reports that Sullivan was still leading Gross by 22 points after Tuesday night’s ballot drop. This means that Gross had an all-but-insurmountable task ahead of him: winning more than three-quarters of the remaining mail-in ballots. Election analysts were skeptical that this was possible. On Wednesday morning, outlets began calling the race for Sullivan.
It turns out that even providing proof that you once killed a bear in self-defense is not enough to convince Alaska voters to vote Democratic. The party’s attention now turns fully to Georgia.