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Could Lane and Multnomah Mean Merkley Victory?

At 11:39 am, Gordon Smith lead Democrat Jeff Merkley 47.5 percent to 46.7 percent in the squeaker U.S. Senate race.

But late voting in Lane and Multnomah counties could mathematically push Merkley to a narrow victory, assuming current voting trends in the two counties and the rest of the state continue.

An EW analysis calculates that Merkley could end up with an estimated 48.4 percent of the total vote when all ballots are counted. Assuming percentages for a third party candidate and write-ins remain the same, that could mean a narrow Merkley victory over Smith.

Almost half the votes in Lane and Multnomah counties remain to be counted. The two urban counties hold a big chunk of the state’s Democrats, and vote counting there has lagged behind the rest of the state.

A big uncertainty is whether Constitution Party Candidate Dave Brownlow will continue to pull votes from Smith at the same statewide rate in the two counties.