House races

House races

After suggesting vote fraud, Rep. Carnahan opponent concedes defeat

Republican Ed Martin, who lost a close race to Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-Mo.), has finally conceded after nearly a week of questioning whether fraud played a part in his defeat last Tuesday. 

Martin initially said an investigation into Tuesday's results was warranted, citing irregularities in a number of precincts. 

Late on election night, Martin had a razor-thin lead over Carnahan, but after the final tally was in the next morning, the incumbent had a lead of close to 4,500 votes.    

"Our team of hundreds of volunteers and thousands of supporters had reasonable reasons to be suspicious," Martin wrote in a message to supporters Monday. "While it would be irresponsible to make accusations that exceed the evidence, there was at the time ample reason to be concerned. Voicing those concerns was a difficult thing to do but I felt it was the right thing to do." 

The Republican said after learning that Carnahan's vote surge came from unreported votes "from the northwest precincts of St. Louis County," and not from precincts within the city, his worry over voter fraud dissipated.     

Martin wrote that "although I have concerns about other incidents and improper conduct on election day, I no longer believe these concerns are sufficient to continue our review of what has occurred or delay agreeing that this election is over." 

Martin said he phoned Carnahan Monday morning to officially concede. 


Illinois Republican on healthcare: 'I don't think it can be repealed'

Tea Party-backed Republican Bobby Schilling, who pulled off one of 2010's big upsets by defeating Rep. Phil Hare (D-Ill.), says he would like to repeal healthcare, but he doesn't see it happening. 

"If we could, I would yank that thing out by its roots," Schilling said in an interview with the Illinois Southtown Star. "Would I repeal it? Yes. Can it be repealed? I don't think it can be repealed."

It's the reality that faces the House's new Republican majority, including dozens of Republicans and Tea Party-backed candidates who ran on promises to repeal and replace the new healthcare law. 

With Democrats still in the majority in the Senate and President Obama wielding a veto pen in the White House, repealing the law in its entirety is a non-starter.  

In an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who's expected to be chairman of the House Budget Committee said the party will not be able to repeal the law until a new Republican president is in the White House. 

The man likely to be the next Speaker of the House, current Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio), has already said he intends to do everything possible to "repeal this bill and replace it with commonsense reforms that will bring down the cost of health insurance."  

But at a news conference the day after Republicans took back the majority in the House, Boehner indicated a much more likely course of action was using the appropriations process to defund key aspects of the law.  

One big question for newly elected Republicans such as Schilling is just how much patience Tea Party activists will have if the GOP majority fails to make some serious progress in dismantling and defunding parts of the law. 

In the same interview, Schilling said he's already been warned by Tea Party members who backed his campaign against Hare that if they don't like what they see from him in Washington, "We will work just as hard against you as we worked for you."  


Dem Rep. Connolly claims victory

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) has claimed victory in his rematch against Republican Keith Fimian.

Fimian has not conceded the race, nor said if he will request a recount.

Connolly leads Fimian by 958 votes — a lead that has steadily grown since election night.

Meanwhile, Connolly has been hospitalized for an unknown condition.

"Congressman Connolly visited his doctor for a checkup earlier this week, and his doctor recommended he be hospitalized for further testing," campaign manager James Walkinshaw said in a statement. "The details are a private matter, but he is doing well and will be heading home this weekend. He expects to be back to work for the people of Northern Virginia on Monday."


New results show California Rep. McNerney edging toward win

California Rep. Jerry McNerney (D) is breathing easier after an updated vote count showed him with a 568-vote lead over Republican David Harmer, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

But with McNerney's lead at just 0.3 percent of the vote, the Democrat's victory is far from certain.

The latest numbers came from Alameda and Santa Clara counties, where McNerney beat Harmer from 8 to 14 points.

Updated results from Contra Costa and San Joaquin counties are still outstanding. California's 11th district was one of nine House races that couldn't be called on Tuesday night.

According to the Mercury News, tens of thousands of votes still need to be counted after an influx of vote-by-mail ballots were dropped off at the polls on Election Day.

The counting should be done by next Friday, with the final result expected before Thanksgiving. The losing candidate then has five calendar days to request a recount. There are no automatic recounts in California.


Rep. Chandler claims victory in Kentucky

Kentucky's secretary of state certified Rep. Ben Chandler (D-Ky.) the winner of a close reelection contest Friday, but Republican Andy Barr has already requested a recanvass of the results and has not yet conceded.

Chandler's margin stands at just 649 votes, but the recanvass appears unlikely to change the result. 

The process is different than a re-count — the recanvass is simply another check of the vote totals already reported. It's set to take place Nov. 12. 

Chandler claimed victory Friday in a message to supporters, saying, "It is your support and hard work that helped us win the battle. I am humbled and honored that the people of Central Kentucky have again chosen me to be their voice in Congress." 


'Hillary voters' abandon Democrats

The blue-collar voters who supported Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential run deserted her party in droves on Tuesday, according to a new poll.

Democrats' support from white, non-college-educated male voters dropped 12 percent from 2008, according to a survey Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted Nov. 2-3 for Democracy Corps and Campaign for America's Future.

Only 29 percent of blue-collar men support Democrats in 2010, down from 41 percent last cycle, according to the survey of 1,000 2008 voters, of which 897 voted on Tuesday.

"These are gigantic losses," Democratic pollster Stan Greenberg, whose firm conducted the survey, said on a conference call with reporters Friday.

Greenberg said President Obama and the Democratic leadership failed to articulate a clear economic message.

The process surrounding the healthcare bill, which passed in March, reinforced the perception voters' had that the Democrats were spending too much time bickering with the GOP, increasing federal spending and listening to lobbyists instead of average people on major legislation.

According to the survey, Republicans took the lead in May and Democrats weren't able to close the gap before Election Day.

Obama took responsibility for his party’s drubbing during a press conference Wednesday. "It underscores for me that I've got to do a better job," he told reporters.

But Greenberg warned it will take a sustained effort to recapture the blue-collar voters that backed the Republicans' takeover of the House.

Meanwhile, during an interview with a New Zealand TV station, Clinton was asked if the United States was ready for a female president.

"I hope so," she said, according to Fox News. But she was quick to add: "Well, not me. But it will be someone and it is nice coming to countries that have already proven that they can elect women to the highest governing positions that they have in their systems."


Ellmers slams NRCC after committee declines to help with legal costs

Republican Renee Ellmers, who will likely face a recount in her bid to unseat Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.), appealed for help Thursday from the National Republican Congressional Committee. 

The NRCC declined and Ellmers isn't happy about it.  

The Republican said she asked the committee for help covering the costs related to a looming recount — Ellmers leads Etheridge by some 1,600 votes and earlier this week the incumbent signaled his intention to request a recount. 

After elections officials discovered a counting error in one of the state's counties, the Republican's lead over Etheridge shrunk. The difference between the two is now less than 1 percent of the vote, enabling Etheridge to ask for a recount. 

In a message to supporters Thursday, Ellmers said she has hired a total of 11 attorneys — one to monitor proceedings in each of the state's counties — and another "to work with the North Carolina State Board of Elections."  

"Months ago, I went to Washington and asked the National Republican Congressional Committee and many conservative leaders to help my campaign," Ellmers said in the statement. "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."

She continued: "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." 

The committee said it has offered its assistance to all campaigns facing recounts, but has advised them to initiate their own recount funds to raise money. 

The tension with the NRCC harkens back to a comment made earlier in the cycle by Ellmers consultant Carter Wrenn, who told a reporter that the committee knew who was behind a videotaped confrontation with Etheridge that made the rounds on YouTube and first vaulted the race to national attention. 

According to a New York Times story published Thursday, Republican operatives have now admitted that they were behind the taped confrontation with Etheridge.

On Thursday, Wrenn told the North Carolina News Observer, "You don't mislead the press. It's silly."