As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The (Still) Emerging Democratic Majority

There are three seats still in play in the House, where recounts are going on. Netroots candidate Larry Kissell is within 400 votes in NC-08, despite running on a shoestring with literally no support from the national party (but Tammy Duckworth got 3 million to lose in Rahm Emanuel's backyard). Mary Jo Kilroy is within about 3,000 votes in OH-15. This looks to be a lost cause, but the Kilroy people are rallying for all votes to be counted.

In FL-13, Katharine Harris' old district (and how glorious was her resounding defeat on Tuesday? She's apparently going to write a tell-all book about everybody who "wronged" her. I imagine it will br 8,000 pages long), Christine Jennings is within about 300 votes of Vern Buchanan. And there appear to be shenanigans:

A review of Sarasota County voting results shows that in almost every precinct a high percentage of voters didn't cast ballots in the hotly contested 13th Congressional District, a trend that likely affected the outcome of the race.

Democrat Christine Jennings lost to Republican Vern Buchanan by 368 votes, making it the second closest congressional race in the country.

More than 18,000 voters who showed up at the polls voted in other races but not the Buchanan-Jennings race.

That means nearly 13 percent of voters did not vote for either candidate -- a massive undercount compared with other counties, including Manatee, which reported a 2 percent undervote.

If the missing votes had broken for Jennings by the same percentage as the counted votes in Sarasota County, the Democrat would have won the race by about 600 votes instead of losing by 368, according to a Herald-Tribune review. Even if the undervote had been 8 percent -- more than three times what it was in Manatee -- Jennings would have won by one vote.

It seems funky and the Jennings people have every right to contest it. Having that many undervotes in a contested Congressional election seems very odd. They have touch-screen voting machines in that district. Democrats will probably come up short in North Carolina and Ohio, but they ought to contest Florida virgorously. A troubled election in Florida, who'd'a thunk it?

Meanwhile, there are two more runoff elections in the House set for December. In Texas, a seat that had to be re-redistricted because of a Supreme Court decision yielded a runoff between Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla and Democratic former Rep. Ciro Rodriguez. I can't get excited about Rodriguez' candidacy after he performed so badly in trying to unseat Blue Dog Democrat Henry Cuellar early in the year.

But the other runoff, in Louisiana, is crucial. On December 9, Karen Carter will face the most scandal-plagued Democratic member of the House, William Jefferson. You'll recall that the FBI found that Jefferson had $90,000 in cash stashed in his freezer, and he spent an inordinate amount of time during Hurricane Katrina commandeering a boat and removing potentially incriminating items from his flooded home. He's named in at least two indictments of associates, and he's probably weeks away from being indicted himself.

Nancy Pelosi yesterday claimed that this Congress would be the most open and honest on record. We cannot have a major headline one month from the election be that a soon-to-be-indicted corrupt Democrat took re-election. The Democrats have actually done their part here: they stripped Jefferson's committee assignments and they denied him the party's endorsement. Jefferson won a meager 30% of the vote on Tuesday, but it was enough to get him into the runoff.

It's vital that we remove this stain from the Democrats and help elect Karen Carter to the position in Louisiana. It would send a powerful message that we mean business about cleaning up Washington.

Sometimes it feels like these races will never end....