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Ain’t over ’til it’s over: Vote count/recount round-up; Update: Seattle Times declares Murray winner, Rossi concedes

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By Michelle Malkin  •  November 4, 2010 05:11 PM

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Most campaigns have turned out the lights and gone home. But two days after Election Day, there are many races across the country still too close to call and awaiting final vote tallies or recounts.

You know the biggies — Washington’s Murray/Rossi Senate race and Alaska’s Murkowski/Miller/write-in-a-palooza Senate race. But there are several others. Let me know if I’ve missed any.

Murray has widened her lead, but Rossi’s campaign manager reminds observers:

* Historically in Washington, the Republican candidates improve their percentages in each county in votes counted after Election Day, usually improving their margins by 2 to 3 percentage points.
* King County, which is providing most of Sen. Murray’s margin, accounts for 30.7% of all registered voters in the state. According to County Election reports, King County only has 26.7% of the remaining ballots left to count. The rest of the state, where Rossi has a comfortable lead, will count proportionately more ballots post-Election Day.
* Spokane County, where Rossi is currently in the lead by more than 50%, still has at least 21.6% of the remaining ballots left to process, with more coming in.
* Rossi is currently leading in Pierce County by nearly 2,500 votes
* According to the Secretary of State, there are still over 508,000 estimated ballots left to process statewide.

Rossi’s campaign is also asking for help:

Ballot rehab is happening. We need to contact Republican voters whose ballots have been rejected for various reasons, to ensure their ballot is properly counted. At this point, over 17,000 ballots have been rejected for one reason or another. Not all of those will be Republican ballots but some will be and we can make serious gains. We are less that 1% behind and need all the help we can muster over the next 72 hours to make this happen. If you are available to help or know of folks who are available to help, please email Russel Johnson from Dino Rossi’s campaign.

Russell Johnson
Field Coordinator
Dino Rossi for Senate
(425) 451-2010

Another nailbiter in Washington state: the 2nd congressional district race.

Incumbent Democrat Rep. Rick Larsen edged ahead of Snohomish County Councilman John Koster by 507 votes Wednesday in the race for the 2nd Congressional District seat. With almost 195,000 ballots counted, Larsen led 50.13 to 49.87 percent.

Larsen trailed in Tuesday night’s initial returns by a little more than 1,400 votes, and it appeared that Koster would ride the Republican wave that was ousting Democratic incumbents across the nation.

A win by Koster would give Republicans a 5-4 majority in the state’s congressional delegation for the first time since 1998.

And that could still happen. Koster led in Snohomish County, the district’s most populous, as well as Island and Skagit counties. Larsen led in Whatcom, San Juan, and the tiny area of King County that’s part of the 2nd District.

In Alaska, Senate campaigns are lawyering up. Via The Hill:

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and his Senate Conservatives Fund, which funneled several million dollars to Tea Party-backed Senate candidates this cycle, is ready to help Joe Miller fight Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s high-flying legal team in Alaska.

The political action committee is currently exploring exactly how it can assist Miller, the Republican nominee, on the fundraising front in what is expected to be a costly and drawn-out ballot-counting process.

Miller is likely to need the help since he’ll be up against a top-notch legal team assembled by Murkowski, who ran as a write-in candidate after she lost the GOP primary to Miller. The incumbent’s legal efforts will be led by GOP heavyweight Ben Ginsberg, who played a leading role in the recount effort in Florida on behalf of then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush (R) in 2000.

As it stands now, the “write-in” category leads Miller’s vote total by 7 percent. The assumption is that the vast majority of those write-in votes were cast for Murkowski, but Miller’s camp is banking on the possibility that many of them could be declared invalid.

If ballots do not spell Murkowski’s name correctly or cast some doubt as to the intent of the voter, Miller’s camp will likely argue that those votes should be invalidated.

In Arizona’s 7th CD, our GOP upstart Ruth McClung is still fighting the good fight against open-borders extremist Raul Grijalva, who declared victory despite an incomplete ballot count:

Grijalva leads Republican challenger Ruth McClung by about 3,500 votes, with an unknown number of late-arriving absentee votes still to be counted.

McClung’s spokesman said she’s not going anywhere until election officials finish their work.

“She won’t be conceding until all those votes are counted,” spokesman Sam Stone said.

In Arizona’s 8th CD, GOP challenger Jesse Kelly is battling incumbent Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a virtual tie:

With thousands of Pima County ballots still to be counted, Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords holds a narrow one-point lead over GOP challenger Jesse Kelly in CD 8. At noon Thursday, Giffords led by 2,300 votes.

Giffords’ campaign staff expressed confidence that the lead would hold, as her lead in early ballots was about 10,000 votes, and a significant number of early ballots were turned in at polling places on Tuesday.

“This election is going to go down in history as one of the angriest,” Giffords told the Democratic crowd around 10 p.m. “But while other campaigns across the country stooped to levels lower than we have ever seen before, our campaign stood up for the people.”

“It looks like it’s going to be tight like we thought,” Kelly told a thinning crowd of Republicans gathered at the Doubletree Hotel around 9 p.m., “but I think we’re going to do it.”

In North Carolina, infamous Democrat Rep. Bob Etheridge refuses to concede to newcomer GOP challenger Renee Ellmers. He’s gearing up for a recount:

While most races were decided Tuesday night, 2nd District Congressman Bob Etheridge is still refusing to concede in his race with Republican Renee Ellmers. He said Wednesday that he is prepared to call for a recount.

“As of right now, where the votes stands is the margin is less than 1 percent, which is the threshold for recount. I have notified the Board of Elections that it is my intent to request a recount if the margin is less than 1 percent when all the votes are counted,” said Etheridge.

Elections officials say they should finish up the count by November 12th. If the margin separating Etheridge and Ellmers is within 1 percent, a recount will be held. The results will be certified when the State Board of Elections meets November 23rd.

Frank J. notes:

We still don’t know exactly how many seats the Republicans have gained in the House as some are still being counted, and one that was counted they’re still going after: Renee Ellmers win over Bob “Who are you?!” Etheridge. The vote margin could be small enough to trigger a recount so Ellmers may need our support as Etheridge tries to strangle out a few more votes. Hopefully Bob Etheridge can be defeated for good soon. Some politicians are arrogant and out of touch, but Bob Etheridge is arrogant and TOUCHES WAY TOO MUCH!

Heh. Help the Ellmers campaign here — because Washington DC Republicans won’t:

Dear Supporters,

Election night, after the ten counties in my district had reported their votes, I led Bob Etheridge by 2,100 votes. (That number is crucial because under North Carolina law Congressman Etheridge is not entitled to an ‘automatic recount’ if he trails by more than 1% – or 1,888 votes.)

Then, yesterday afternoon – unexpectedly – the vote totals changed. The State Board of Elections reported my lead had dropped to 1,600 votes. Two hours later Bob Etheridge announced he intended to call for a recount.

As a result, last night my campaign began hiring attorneys – eleven attorneys in all. One in each county to monitor each recount and an attorney to work with the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

Right now, our best estimate of the minimum cost we face is $50,000. But, of course, my campaign spent every penny we had before the election.

Yesterday, we appealed to the National Republican Congressional Committee for support, asking if they could contribute to help pay the costs of this recount. Their answer, unfortunately, was, No – that we would have to raise the money to pay for the recount ourselves.

I was afraid that would be their answer. Months ago, I went to Washington and asked the National Republican Congressional Committee and many conservative leaders to help my campaign. Many conservative groups – like the Susan B. Anthony List, Concerned Women of America, Freedom Works, and Sarah Palin’s Sarah PAC all helped, but the NRCC declined. Later, they did support other campaigns in North Carolina – which, unfortunately, lost – but we never received their support. In fact, their spokesman told the press “that the campaign wasn’t ready for prime time” – which actually made it even harder for us to raise money. So, I am doubtful we will get support from the NRCC to help with the expense of the recount.

Right now, I lead Bob Etheridge by 1,600 votes. That lead should hold up. But we can’t take anything for granted. We must leave no stone unturned to insure a fair recount. We cannot allow the kind of mishap that happened in Minnesota – when Al Franken was elected – to repeat itself in North Carolina.

This morning my campaign manager set up a special fund – Renee Ellmers for Congress Recount Fund – to pay for the recount. I never dreamed I’d be asking you for another donation two days after the election – but I need to raise $50,000 ‘yesterday.’ The maximum you may give is $2,400. Each contribution – whatever the amount, whether it’s $25, $250, or $500 – is crucial and will be deeply appreciated. Could you send a donation and mail it today? Or, better still, click here, to give on my website.

I apologize for asking for another gift so soon – but I am sure you understand.

As ever, thank you and best wishes.

Renee Ellmers

Politico has profiles of other contested races, including California 11th District (Harmer/McNerney); Virginia 11th District (Fimian/Connolly); Kentucky 6th District (Chandler/Barr); Texas 27th District (Farenthold/Ortiz); and Illinois 8th District (Walsh/Bean).

Jim Geraghty has the unresolved races sorted by GOP leads/deficits.

In Minnesota, they’re bracing for a prolonged recount on the governor’s race. Shades of Franken/Coleman:

Lightning never strikes twice, but Minnesotans should brace themselves for yet another recount, this time in the gubernatorial contest between Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party Representative Mark Dayton and Republican Tom Emmer.

While results are currently still unofficial, the less than one-half of a percentage point difference in the vote tally may be grounds for an automatic recount.

However, elections officials throughout the state will have to recheck the votes and the state canvassing board is scheduled to confirm the results later this month. If the board finds that the vote remains extremely close, it will call for a recount.

And the governor’s race is still up in the air in Connecticut:

Connecticut’s top election official said Thursday she did not have the final vote totals yet in the disputed governor’s race because of a delay in the state’s largest city. Both Democrat Dan Malloy and Republican Tom Foley have claimed victory in Tuesday’s closely contested election.

Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz had intended to announce the final unofficial tally Thursday afternoon. Instead, she said she still had not received the final count from Bridgeport, which was due by 6 p.m. on Wednesday.

“We don’t know when we’re going to receive their numbers,” Bysiewicz said.

Relying on a combination of unofficial returns from cities and towns and unofficial tallies she received over the phone, Bysiewicz announced Wednesday that Malloy had defeated Foley by more than 3,000 votes out of more than 1.1 million cast.

Unofficial results posted on the secretary of the state’s website from 168 of 169 cities and towns show Foley with 556,787 votes on the Republican line, Malloy with 548,378 from the Democratic and Working Families Party lines; and Independent Tom Marsh with 17,543 votes. The list does not include vote tallies from Bridgeport, which was expected to tilt strongly in favor of Malloy.

Sandi Ayala, the Democratic registrar of voters in Bridgeport, said Thursday that the vote-counting is done, but she declined to release the tallies and wouldn’t say why the results haven’t been given to Bysiewicz.

Malloy said Wednesday that his numbers show he won by at least 11,000 votes, while Foley said his numbers showed him winning by just under 2,000 votes.

Stay tuned…

***

Update: Two more to watch…

Missouri’s 3rd CD:

Republican Ed Martin is demanding an investigation of possible voter fraud after narrowly losing the election for Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District to Democratic incumbent Rep. Russ Carnahan. Martin said Wednesday he will send a formal request for the investigation to Carnahan’s sister, Secretary of State Robin Carnahan. Martin laid out a list of concerns, including a late-night surge of Carnahan votes from urban St. Louis and problems with providing provisional ballots to voters. “There are questions that remain today,” Martin said. “We think right now there is some reason to be concerned.”

NY’s 25th CD:

When Wayne County reported its preliminary results for the first time Wednesday evening, Ann Marie Buerkle edged ahead of incumbent Dan Maffei in the race for the 25th District Congressional seat. Now, both candidates and their parties are awaiting the tally of absentee ballots that hold the answer to their political futures.

Wayne County’s results were delayed almost a day by a problem with the way poll workers reported totals from the new voting machines. The confusion came when they tried to compile data from the receipts printed by the ImageCast systems. When the preliminary results were finally reported, Buerkle, the Republican, overcame the approximately 3,000 vote lead Maffei, the Democrat, held based on results from other counties. Her current lead, however, is even smaller: just 700 votes.

***

Update 8:30pm Eastern Seattle Times declares Patty Murray the Senate winner…

Sen. Patty Murray has won a fourth term, riding a wave of strong Democratic support in King County to defeat Republican challenger Dino Rossi.

As of Thursday evening, Murray was leading Rossi by more than 45,000 votes, taking 51 percent to Rossi’s 49 percent. That’s up from a 14,000-vote lead on Election Day.

According to a Seattle Times analysis, Rossi would need to get about 54 percent of the estimated 591,000 uncounted ballots statewide to overcome Murray’s lead.

But nearly 264,000 of those ballots are in King County. Murray’s already commanding lead there has only expanded since Election Day. She took 68 percent of the 69,000 King County ballots counted Thursday.

To overcome King County’s heavy support for Murray, Rossi would have to take about two-thirds of the remaining ballots in the rest of the state. So far he’s received 53.2 percent of those non-King County votes.

Update 9:20pm Eastern Rossi concedes.

Here is his statement:

“This evening, I called Senator Murray to offer my congratulations on her re-election to the U.S. Senate.

“I ran for the Senate because I believe we need a basic course correction from where Washington, D.C. has been taking us and to make sure this country is as free, as strong and as prosperous in the future as it has been in the past to preserve the best of America for future generations.

“That was a message that found a very receptive audience all across this state, though not quite receptive enough.

“We’re sending at least one new person, maybe two, to Congress to represent Washington State. We elected a host of new people to the state legislature — all on the message of controlling spending and helping the private sector grow, saying no to government overreach and confronting some very difficult challenges in front of us.

You’ve heard me say during this campaign that the problems we face are too big for one political party. They are, and I can say that with absolute certainty.

“It is my hope that the new House and Senate will address them seriously, responsibly, and in a bipartisan way. I hope the President and Senate Democrats will join the new House majority to face these problems head on rather than leaving them for the next Congress or the next generation.

“My hope going forward is that our representatives in Washington, D.C. will be thinking about how an issue affects Bellevue, Bellingham or Bingen, not the D.C. Beltway.

“I hope they will be thinking about the small business owners struggling to stay open and the people that work there who are trying to pay their mortgage and feed their kids. 0 I hope the things that are done in D.C. make it easier for these folks, not harder.

The lesson I leave you with is one we learned as kids: we’re all in this together. If Washington, D.C. doesn’t act to help the economy grow and solve this massive ‘spending and debt, it’s going to hurt us all. It won’t distinguish by political party.

Let me close with one more heartfelt thank you to the people of our state. Thank you for letting me have an honest, straightforward discussion with you about our future.

“God bless you, our country, and this wonderful state we call home.”

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