A state-mandated machine recount in Washington State’s senate race affirmed pro-choice Maria Cantwell’s (D) win over anti-choice incumbent Senator Slade Gorton (R). Cantwell gained 276 votes in the recount, defeating Gorton by 2,229 votes, or just 0.1 percent. The outcome is subject to final certification by Washington’s Secretary of State, who is expected to uphold the outcome. Gorton conceded on December 1, and is not expected to demand additional recounts.
Cantwell’s election makes Washington the third state to be represented by two female senators in the upcoming session of Congress, joining California and Maine. Her election also evenly divides the Senate 50/50 between Democrats and Republicans. Democratic leadership will likely argue for parity in committee assignments and other positions of influence to secure equal power in the next Congressional session. However, if Bush is named President, the tie-breaking vote would go to vice presidential hopeful Dick Cheney. If Gore is elected, Joseph Lieberman will lose his Senate seat in Connecticut, giving that position to his Republican opponent and giving the Republicans a 51-49 majority.