Friday, November 07, 2008

The Unresolved Congressional Contests


Blue Dog Nye beats rabid Republican Drake in VA-02

First some good news: rubber stamp and arch-reactionary Thelma Drake (VA-02) just conceded. The extremist imbecile who took over the southeast Virginia seat of Ed Schrock after he accidentally left his closet door open and then decided to resign from Congress so he could "spend more time with his family," is unlikely to ever be heard from again. The new congressman is Glenn Nye, a middle of the road Democrat.

Some of the other House races are more critical because they pit genuine progressives against right-wing extremists. And then there are still some Senate races not determined yet. This morning's CQPolitics went through them all.

Last night I was a guest on Air America, talking about these races. The very first question was about the "closeness" of the Merkley-Smith Senate contest in Oregon. But it really wasn't that close. Unlike in Minnesota, say, where, only 236 votes (of 2.8 ballots cast) separates Al Franken and Norm Coleman, "closeness" wasn't the issue in Oregon. It was just a matter of slow counting. With 91% of precincts now counted, Jeff Merkley took 816,276 (49%) votes and incumbent Gordon Smith only had 764,540 (46%)-- not a blowout, but not a worth a recount either, especially since the 9% of uncounted precincts are all Democratic-leaning. Smith conceded yesterday.

Now in Minnesota we really do need a complete and thorough recount. And, despite Coleman's silly huffing and puffing-- he leads by the 236 votes-- it is legally mandated. The recount starts after November 18, will take at least a week or two and that doesn't rule out further legal challenges, especially if a sore loser like Coleman doesn't get what he wants.

Georgia is more clear cut. No one got a 50% majority so there is a run-off on December 2. Incumbent wingnut Saxby Chambliss has 49.8% of the vote and Democrat Jim Martin has 46.8%.
Republicans contend that Chambliss would have the advantage in a runoff, arguing that Democrat Martin, who is white, would have difficulty generating the kind of huge turnout among the black constituency-- more than a quarter of the state’s population-- that came out in strength for Barack Obama. But the cash-rich Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has pledged to pour money into Georgia to back Martin if the race goes to a runoff, and Democratic strategists argue that Republican voters may be deflated by their party’s setbacks and are less likely to return to the polls in less than four weeks.

A lot may come down to whether or not President-elect Obama is willing to push hard for Martin. I'm guessing he won't and Martin will lose.

The Alaska Senate race may well have been fixed, as we discussed earlier, but there are still 55,000 votes to count. Convicted felon Ted Stevens-- who is also facing expulsion from both the Republican caucus and the Senate itself-- leads Mark Begich (according to what looks like the tainted results) by 3,300 votes of the 200,000 or so cast. If he's declared the winner and is then expelled, Alaska would then get a 90 day appointee courtesy of Sarah Palin, followed by a special election 90 days later-- unless we sell Alaska back to the Russians or rescind statehood.

And then there will be the interim appointments (2 years) to fill the Illinois and Delaware Senate seats being vacated by Obama and Biden-- both being made by Democratic governors.

Over on the House side, there are more undecided races. Last night we looked at the CA-44 (parts of Orange and Riverside Counties) where Ken Calvert insists he's the winner and says he doesn't care about any final vote count. Unfortunately for Calvert, most of the tens of thousands of uncounted votes are from Riverside County, the part of the district that supports Bill Hedrick, although there are plenty of hard right areas in Orange County with uncounted votes as well.

Way on the other end of the state, provisional and absentee ballots have to be counted in CA-04, where extremist maniac Tom McClintock leads Charlie Brown by 644 votes.

Louisiana's arcane election system will chose two House members-- one for LA-02 (New Orleans) and one for LA-04 (McCrery's old Shreveport-centered district in the northwest part of the state-- on December 6. Democratic incumbent, William Jefferson, still awaiting trial on corruption charges, and reactionary anti-choice so-called "Democratic" candidate Paul Carmouche are both favored. Nothing to look forward to in either case.

In Ohio's 15th CD (Columbus) there is a very tight contest to replace GOP rubber stamp Deborah Pryce, between Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy and Republican Steve Stivers. As of this morning Stivers seems to be ahead by 146 votes (out of 290,000 cast), although there are still plenty of votes to be counted next week.
Yet to be counted are provisional ballots, which won't be tallied for 10 days; the military and overseas absentee ballots postmarked by the time the polls closed Tuesday and received by Nov. 14; any domestic absentee ballots postmarked by Monday that are received by Nov. 14; as well as any of the estimated 5,000 absentee ballots with errors that voters correct by Nov. 14.

Kilroy's campaign predicted that those ballots would melt away Stivers' lead. Provisional ballots, often cast by younger voters and new residents, tend to skew Democratic.

"We are confident that when the Board of Elections completes their work that Mary Jo Kilroy will be declared the winner given the number of ballots that have yet to be counted in Franklin County," Kilroy spokesman Brad Bauman said in a written statement in the afternoon.

In Maryland's first CD right-wing loon Andy Harris trails Blue Dog Frank Kratovil by 1,882 votes. The state will count absentee and provisional ballots next week but the Blue Dog is expected to win won. Big whoop!

From the progressive perspective there are two other crucial House races outstanding: VA-05 where Tom Perriello is leading corrupt wingnut Virgil Goode and WA-08 where counting is extremely slow. In the Virginia race, all the ballots and counted and Tom is ahead by 648 votes but Goode refuses to concede and may have to be dragged out of his office in chains. In Washington there are still a quarter million votes to be counted, mostly in parts of the district that lean Democratic but it could take a week or even longer before the final results are in.

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At 10:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if Paul Carmouche paints himself to be a moderate democrat, there is no doubt he will vote in lockstep with Nancy Pelosi and the other House democratic leadership.

How will he stand up to Nancy Pelosi if he can't even stand up to hardened criminals?



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