By 2 am on Wednesday morning, Democratic incumbent Sen. Patty Murray's lead over Republican challenger Dino Rossi stood at 14,005 votes, with 62.4 percent of precincts reporting. The lead is well over the 2,000 vote (or one half percentage point) threshold that would trigger an automatic recount. But with more votes still to be counted, and both candidates already lawyered up to reexamine the tally, is a recount all but guaranteed?
But if it's not triggered automatically, it will be up to the candidates themselves to fund the process.
To this end, Murray has received help from the national Democratic Party and Rossi's gotten money from the GOP, which set up a general recount funding website at www.nomorefrankens.com--a reference to Minnesota Sen. Al Franken who won election in 2008 after an excruciating six-month-long recount.
For Rossi, recounting votes would be like revisiting a nightmare.
In 2004, he was certified Governor-elect after the closest gubernatorial race in U.S. history, only to be stripped of the title after a recount in which Gov. Christine Gregoire won by 129 votes.
This time however, it's Rossi that's down, so he's got less to lose.
For now, however, all the candidates can do is wait for the rest of the votes to be counted--a process that, in Washington, one ought not hold their breath during.