Shades of Florida

So there’s certain to be a recanvas (same thing as a recount but they call it a recanvas in NYS) in NY-20. This sort of thing is usually quite orderly in NYS because of the fact that each county has two election commissioners, one Democrat and one Republican. But this one could be so close that things get a little crazy.

Here’s where things may get entertaining. 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.

But I’m probably hoping for too much.

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48 replies
  1. 1
    Marked Hoosier says:

    Nelson to GOP: HA HA!

  2. 2
    jnfr says:

    I suspect usually orderly won’t apply. The Republicans are desperate for a win.

  3. 3
    Gordon, The Big Express Engine says:

    Dougj – what is latest on Murphy Tedisco? Who is winning? where are you seeing the results?

  4. 4
    Gus says:

    This shit is usually orderly in MN, too, but we still have one Senator.

  5. 5
    DougJ says:

    Dougj – what is latest on Murphy Tedisco? Who is winning? where are you seeing the results?

    Dead heat after tonight. The recount and counting of absentees will take a few weeks. We won’t know much for a few weeks.

  6. 6
    MikeJ says:

    Precincts Scott Murphy(Dem) James Tedisco(GOP)
    610/610 77,344 77,279

  7. 7
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Murphy by less than 65, all precincts counted, military, absentee, odds-and-sods to go.

  8. 8
    shortstop says:

    Spargo has just filed a request with Treasury for taxpayer-funded BB suits to wear to this year’s riot.

  9. 9
    MikeJ says:

    Wouldn’t it be great if Tedisco lost by one vote? If you’re not eligible to vote for yourself, a really close election is the last thing you want.

  10. 10
    JGabriel says:

    77,344 – 77,279

    Jeepers. Anyone have any idea whether Pugs or Dems are likely to dominate the absentee and military votes?

    .

  11. 11
    N M says:

    According to 538 there are about 6k outstanding absentee ballots. That could lead to a little more decisive outcome, but it’s still going to be a win of only a % point or two either way. I would think the Republican is favored in absentee (this being something they are traditionally good at), but this is a no-evidence claim on my part.

  12. 12
    Kylie says:

    Fortunately (unfortunately?), I think the chances of this descending into another Bush/Gore or Franken/Coleman are slim. The outcome just isn’t that important. It’s not the presidency or a potential filibuster-breaking vote on the line. It’s one House vote that won’t matter.

    The value of this race for the national parties was solely image. But "Tedisco wins by 55 votes after recount and 6-week court battle! GOP comeback, bitches!" doesn’t quite work.

    I think this piece of political theater is doomed to be sedate and short-lived.

  13. 13
    The Other Steve says:

    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.

    I think he’s already preoccupied with Norm Coleman. :-)

  14. 14
    The Other Steve says:

    I think he’s already preoccupied with Norm Coleman. :-)

    Speaking of which. Court ruled tonight. They’re opening 400 ballots on April 7th and that’s that. I don’t know why those ballots, but apparently they were legally cast.

    Coleman says they’re going to appeal. He’s not even waiting for the results.

    Hopefully the State Supreme Court will rule quickly, and just get this done with.

  15. 15
    Michael says:

    It is a goddamnable shame that things have degenerated to such a point where politics is so ideologically polarized that factions and candidates see their opposites as evil. They’d prefer seats to remain open through litigation rather than have an opponent take office.

    I realize that this is a function of the GOP having gone batshit crazy, and as a former GOP contributor activist (now Dem, but not that ideologically different than before), this is maddening.

  16. 16
    jcricket says:

    The "Republicans are favored in absentee" trope isn’t really true anymore as more states have adopted "no fault" absentee voting (that is, you can register to vote absentee without some reason, like being old).

    As more states adopt this type of voting, the voters respond with their feet (so to speak) and choose this option in droves. This eventually drives places to adopt all-vote-by-mail (like WA recently did). Once that happens you’ll have lots of close races that are difficult to call (even the first "round" of results) until days after the election.

    Some think this is a problem, I don’t really care. Most races won’t be close enough to need a recount, and I can wait a few days for accurate results.

    Frankly, I’d like to see the whole country standardize on all-vote-by-mail (no more polling places) with optical scan paper ballots. It basically solves every problem with our patchwork of systems without introducing any new ones.

    The only improvement I could see (short of the magical mythical secure internet voting) would be a ballot you could print by computer at home. This would get rid of the one problem with optical scan ballots – human error. If you were only given one secure envelope, it wouldn’t matter that you could print more than one ballot, you couldn’t send it in.

  17. 17
    Davis X. Machina says:

    Coleman says they’re going to appeal. He’s not even waiting for the results.

    I can’t wait for the USSC to have to revisit Bush v. Gore, after it’s used as precedent by a Republican.

    They can blow up Bush post factum, or blow up Coleman ante factum.

  18. 18
    DougJ says:

    It is a goddamnable shame that things have degenerated to such a point where politics is so ideologically polarized that factions and candidates see their opposites as evil.

    I’m actually not so sure that’s true in a race like this. Tedisco probably had a moderate voting record in the Assembly. He’s probably not a firing-breathing conservative. Murphy’s a business guy so probably not that liberal. I doubt either side really hates the other that much, aside from the fact that Tedisco’s probably a prick (par for the course in the state lej).

  19. 19
    Crazy C says:

    the only thing to count should be the absentee and affidavit ballots – the lever machines they use just spits out the final counts, so unless someone copied the numbers wrong there really isn’t that much to change.

  20. 20
    shirt says:

    As I recently wrote to a friend with Bushiod confidence:

    Well, well, well, with the coming victory of Murphy over Tedisco in NY-20 this evening I’m kinda predicting a very dirty little knife fight in the NY-State republican party which will have very serious ramifications all the way to the national level for the GOP. NY-20 is 41% republican versus 27% democrat, at least 71,000 vote plurality for the Conservatives. You may recall I mentioned that Urkel, er, Micheal Steele is going to pay a price… He’ll be gone in two weeks and be replaced by an extreme wing-nut, completing the demise of the GOP.
    Before I answer the really big question, what are we going to do with all the Republican bodies consider this, From: http://www.vanityfair.com/poli.....rentPage=2
    ‘Except that this power ought to be ending. It ought to all be on the wane. It is not just the Obama victory and the magnitude of his approval ratings. It is not just that the gravity of the economic crisis, with historic unemployment rates, means it’s a lot harder to get people excited about Reagan-and-Rush-esque hands-off government.
    It is, rather, a crueler demographic point. The dirty little secret of conservative talk radio is that the average age of listeners is 67 and rising, according to Sinton—the Fox News audience, likewise, is in its mid-60s: “What sort of continuing power do you have as your audience strokes out?” ‘
    The answer to both questions is, we will bury you.

    I still stand by that: Even a courthouse finsih has got to be destructive to the GOP.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    N M says:

    @jcricket

    RE: printable ballot, I believe I read a post at 538 about the history of voting in the USA and at one point in the past you had to bring your own ballot (!). Normally you’d get it out of the local partisan rag or something like that. I am too lazy to look up the post at the moment (I know, what good am I?).

    Back to the point, while I would generally agree with your argument, I think upstate is generally a little heavier on retirees and older folks demographically, who tend to vote conservative, so there still could be some tilt there, but perhaps not as much. Again, fact free zone, but that’s why I comment, rather than write my own blog.

  23. 23

    @N M: That hardly stops many a blogger.

  24. 24
    burnspbesq says:

    Tedsico found six more votes somewhere. Times-Union is now reporting the margin as 59, out of almost 155K votes counted.

    287K votes were cast last November. 155K (160-plus after the absentees are counted) seems to be an unusually high turnout for a special.

  25. 25
    jcricket says:

    Again, fact free zone, but that’s why I comment, rather than write my own blog.

    Since when has having no facts ever stopped a blogger (or a journalist or a pundit) :-)

  26. 26
    MikeJ says:

    OT:
    Open the pod bay doors, Cadie.

    http://cadiesingularity.blogspot.com/

  27. 27
    burnspbesq says:

    Tangentially related: there is a huge pie fight going on at Balkinization over Sandy Levinson’s characterization of Gillibrand’s legal work for Philip Morris in the 1990s as every bit as evil as John Yoo’s work at DOJ.

    http://balkin.blogspot.com/200.....n-yoo.html

    I think he’s full of it, but then, I’m a lawyer.

    Agreeing with Bart is making me queasy.

  28. 28
    Andre says:

    @MikeJ:

    Oh, goodness, I wish that didn’t smack so much of an elaborate April Fool’s joke. I spent a lot of my time as an undergrad working on the logical basis for a self-improving neural net. This would have been the coolest thing ever.

  29. 29
    ploeg says:

    @Paul:

    Yeah, TPM later said that the motion to secure the ballots was filed by the state Republican Party, not Tedisco per se (which it was, I checked the filing PDF on FDL), and that their sources say that this sort of filing isn’t unusual in cases where you suspect the vote to be extremely close.

    But yeah, the Republicans are panicked.

  30. 30
    Lavocat says:

    This is pretty much what we locals thought was coming. Personally, I thought Murphy would have had this by 1 to 2 points. However, leaving this to absentees and overseas ballots does not bode well for Murphy for two obvious reasons: 1) this is (was supposed to be) a "safe" Republican district and 2) absentee and overseas ballots tend to favor Republicans – certainly in this district.

    Perversely enough – and probably why this election is so damned close – Murphy is NOT a liberal Dem (but more like a Blue Dog, like Gillibrand), and Jimmy Disco is NOT a rabid Republican (actually fairly moderate in most of his views, as Reps go). So the electorate is choosing between Democratic-lite or Republican-lite. Interesting.

    However, given the nailbiting closeness of the results at this point, I suspect Murphy is going to lose this by several hundred votes – even on recount.

    SHIT!

  31. 31
    ** Atanarjuat ** says:

    No surprise with the "tie" so far.

    The Working Families Party in New York state, along with the voter registration fraud-riddled ACORN, have delivered for the former Wall Street executive Scott Murphy big time.

    What are the chances that the absentee ballots will favor Murphy once those votes are "counted?" One thing’s for sure: once Barack the Magic Teleprompter got involved, lots of votes for Tedisco will be mysteriously "redistributed" into the Democrat column.

    The leftist, fraudulent shenanigans just never end.

    -A

  32. 32
    Maxwel says:

    ^ Awesome! Glad you’re unhappy.

  33. 33
    someguy says:

    Tangentially related: there is a huge pie fight going on at Balkinization over Sandy Levinson’s characterization of Gillibrand’s legal work for Philip Morris in the 1990s as every bit as evil as John Yoo’s work at DOJ.

    Engineering the grossest war crimes in one of the most blatantly illegal wars in history (with ongoing crimes against humanity in two nations, and ongoing abuse fallout in Gitmo and torture of people we’ve renditioned all over the world) is just a tiny bit different from a lawyer who provided legal services to a defendant in a civil tort case – defense to which the defendant was legally entitled.

    Not to cast any aspersions on our host who spent three years shilling for the torturing genocidal maniacs before jumping ship when it was clear that both illegal wars were a lost cause…

  34. 34
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    It’s difficult not to admire the courage of those Republicans who selflessly throw elections into the hands of courts packed with activist judges.

  35. 35
    cleek says:

    in other news, Ted Stevens is a free man. all charges dropped.

    way to go, DOJ !

  36. 36
    4tehlulz says:

    LOL Michael Steele

    [We] "went toe-to-toe with the Obama Democratic machine that looked invincible in the Northeast just a few months ago and showed that our party can and will be competitive in areas of the country where our party hasn’t won recently."

    Please don’t fire him RNC; politics needs more humorists like him to keep things lively.

  37. 37
    TR says:

    OT: Mika Brzyzinski is a fucking moron.

  38. 38
    TR says:

    The Working Families Party in New York state, along with the voter registration fraud-riddled ACORN, have delivered for the former Wall Street executive Scott Murphy big time.

    True. This is just like when the Rand Corporation and AT&T stole the 1980 presidential election for Ronald Reagan. Jimmy Carter had that wrapped up in a landslide until they stole it from him.

    I have just as much proof for that as you do.

  39. 39
    gbear says:

    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.

    But I’m probably hoping for too much.

    Trust a guy from MN: This gets old fast.

    The crazies aren’t creating policy any more so the only thing they have left to do is fuck up policy and elections. They’ll come out. You’re going to have a feeding frenzy.

  40. 40
    NonyNony says:

    @Kylie:

    The value of this race for the national parties was solely image. But "Tedisco wins by 55 votes after recount and 6-week court battle! GOP comeback, bitches!" doesn’t quite work.

    What’s really funny here are the dynamics of "victory" in this race –

    If the GOP wins, at best they get another backbencher in the House who has to vote with the party as a bloc. At worst they get someone who is worried about re-election in two years and so breaks from the party bloc to cut deals with Democrats to get some stuff done for his district so that he can have some bragging rights when re-election time comes around.

    If the Democrats win, they get another Blue Dog in the House. That gives the Blue Dog caucus a bit more power to pull legislation back and make it more conservative.

    Interestingly enough, the best outcome for ideological conservatives is if Murphy gets the seat . The best outcome for ideological liberals, given the makeup of the House, is if Tedisco gets the seat with a very slim victory – slim enough to make him sweat about re-election and worry about voting with the GOP in bloc.

    And for partisans, well, other than the fact that you don’t want to see your party lose, at this point neither party really gains all that much by the victory. A slim victory for Tedisco in this district is just as much a repudiation of the current Republican strategery as a loss would have been (though a loss is a more visible piece of evidence). I imagine that if Tedisco gets the seat after a month of recounts and legal challenges, the leadership of the RNC is going to be just as bad off as if he’d lost it last night. The loss of a Blue Dog seat might hurt the Blue Dog caucus a bit, but Democrats as a whole aren’t going to feel much sting in the loss of a single seat in the House right now.

  41. 41
    West of the Cascades says:

    What gives with this de-convicting Stevens? Now he can use his exoneration as grounds to challenge Mark Begich’s election as violative of his equal protection and due process rights and tie up another Senate seat in litigation for three years.

  42. 42
    Napoleon says:

    @NonyNony:

    While I understand your logic, and maybe you are right, I really think nothing beats actually winning the seat, short of the Dem being toxic or the Rep being a liberal (and none of those exist). If you could flip 20 house seats from Republicans to blue dog Dems I think it helps the Dems to pass more progressive legislation because 1) studies have shown blue dog dems vote more liberal the the most liberal Rep., on average, 2) by creating a bigger pool of them then on average they can vote more often against the house leadership with no effect on the ultimate outcome, which theoretically means they would all as a group be less susceptible to being successfully challenged and 3) come election time it gives the Republicans as a whole a bigger uphill battle, again to the collective benefit of the caucus as a whole.

  43. 43
    Comrade Darkness says:

    the only thing to count should be the absentee and affidavit ballots – the lever machines they use just spits out the final counts, so unless someone copied the numbers wrong there really isn’t that much to change.

    I suspect the precincts would go back and take another look at the quality match on the signatures in the big signature book (you sign in next to the signature they have on file for you), then check that the voter sign-in slots (which are registered to a specific number on the booth’s dial on the back of the machine, so votes can be backed out, if nulled) are all nice and neat, no overvoting, for example. That would take a little while. A day or two.

    I like NYs machines. Everything about it makes lots of noise, which is quite satisfying. The rattling shush of the curtain lever, the little tick, tick, tick of the voting levers and finally the CURCHUNK of the big lever that registers the votes and opens the curtain. Levers of power, b*tches. We gots em.

  44. 44
    someguy says:

    I was hoping for a 24 point win like Gillibrand pulled off a few months ago but will happily settle for this one. D’s in NY need to start looking for primary opposition to get to the left of the blue dogs they stuck in the flopped Republican seats in 2006 and 2008. This should force the blue dogs to run to the left (the same way Republican primary opposition from the right radicalized their party and forced moderates to run to the right). At a minimum that’s what the DNC should be pushing for; MoveOn is on the right track as usual. Those seats aren’t coming back to the Republicans any time soon, so now’s the time to push left and take advantage of it, and drive the corporatist blue dogs out. You aren’t going to get a chance three years from now to do this.

  45. 45
    Comrade Darkness says:

    What gives with this de-convicting Stevens

    This was Bush’s DOJ bungling this case. This DOJ prosecuted very few republicans (and some of those only because they got caught up in the case of a democrat). The competent prosecutors were purged, don’t forget, for refusing to break the law. So, a) they bungled it because they were hired to suck as a general rule, or b) they bungled it to get him off later. Or accidentally both. You act surprised, but I guess that’s a good sign.

  46. 46
    bayville says:

    As an outsider, it’s hard to get excited about this race when
    the millionaire, carpetbagger venture capitalist is the Democrat.

  47. 47
    someguy says:

    Comrade Darkness – I guess you missed the Abramoff thing? Seems to me that took down the whole K Street Project, Bob Ney, Safavian, Mark Zachares, Mike Scanlon, Neil Volz, Roger Stillwell, Steve Griles, Bill Heaton and a bunch of other high powered Republican staffers (more important than the congressmen they operate, usually) whose names I can’t recall right now. Then there’s Duke Cunningham, the long running Plamegate probe that sent Scooter Libby to jail and provided a good solid three years of embarrassment to the Administration. Seems to me that especially with Plamegate, the DOJ did a great job of at least damaging the Republican agenda and quite a few of the evildoers. They didn’t touch the perverts and cheaters, but those kinds of things – like soliciting sex in airport bathrooms and hitting on underage pages – are tough to prosecute federally, unless you want to get Congress involved in policing vice – something the Republicans have a lot of experience in but I’m not sure it’s in our interest.

    Admittedly, that list is short of the standard I would have for putting Republicans in jail – which is every elected one and maybe 30 percent of registered R voters, the dead enders, for what they did to this country – but you can’t say they turned a blind eye. There’s only so many resources, after all, and they were spread thin between destroying the environment, justifying torture and wars, ignoring Enron and the mortgage meltdown, prosecuting black drug dealers, and so forth.

  48. 48
    Ed Drone says:

    Now he can use his exoneration as grounds to challenge Mark Begich’s election as violative of his equal protection and due process rights and tie up another Senate seat in litigation for three years.

    The difference is that Begich has been seated, and Franken has not (yet). It’s harder to unseat a Senator than to prevent one from taking his. I don’t think Stevens has a chance to unseat Begich — if nothing else, despite the failures of the prosecution, it’s pretty obvious that Stevens is guilty, guilty, guilty!

    Ed

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