(I am loving the titling of these posts)
In case you missed it, well, everywhere, the race in NY-20 between 26-year Assemblyman and local legend Jim Tedisco and Missourian and relative unknown Scott Murphy ended with Murphy up by 65 votes out of over 154,000 cast. There are roughly 6,000 absentee votes to be counted, with potentially more on the way in the next few days (they have to be postmarked by today). TPMDC has a good rundown of where things go from here. As I mentioned yesterday, Tedisco had already filed a complaint to contest the election results before the polls even closed. Here are the next steps:
Ballots have already been impounded tonight, for safekeeping. A hearing has been scheduled for this coming Monday, at which the candidates and the government will hammer out the procedures for counting, challenging and resolving ballots -- and you can bet the absentees will play a major part in this.
"There are statutory processes for canvassing and re-canvassing," Brehm explained, "and basically they're on hold until the court can set up a calendar that is mutually agreeable."
Brehm said that at least 10,055 total absentee ballots had been issued, including 1,882 military and overseas ballots, of which 5,907 total had been returned. Of the remainder, the regular absentees have the next week to arrive in the mail, while the military/overseas ballots have been given an extra six days on top of that under a recent consent decree with the Justice Department.
Election officials will be able to sort through these envelopes and screen out those that should be rejected, but they won't actually be able to count them until the court gives the go-ahead.
Both sides sound confident about the absentees. I agree with Sean Quinn that the best part of all this is that both sides won't be extrapolating the results into some grand statement about Obama or the stimulus. It was a local race in New York, the Republican ran a terrible race in a winnable district, and ended up in what amounts to a tie. What will be interesting is to see what vermin come out of the woodwork to try and overturn the election in Tedisco's favor:
The guy who held this seat before getting beat by Kirsten Gillibrand is John Sweeney, who led the famed Brooks Brothers riot in the 2000 election. If things get tough in this recount, Republicans may bring in a lawyer named Tom Spargo, who reportedly helped Sweeney with the Brooks Brother riot and other stuff in Florida. Spargo is also a former judge who got indicted for bribery a few months ago.
If this gets really tight—and it probably won’t, this stuff is usually orderly in NYS —we could see a whole cast of NYS crazies come out of the woodwork.
I'm telling you, that Brooks Brothers riot was like a nationwide American Idol casting call for GOP leaders. Ben Ginsburg, who ran Bush's legal team during the recount, has popped up in Minnesota to run Norm Coleman's recount.
I'm not so much interested in the outcome as I am seeing to what lengths the Republicans up there will go to win an election. Clearly they blew this one on the ground in a district they should have won, given the matchup, and now they'll try to fake their way to victory.