In it, but not of it. TPM DC

The latest results from the NY-20 special election now have Republican candidate Jim Tedisco up by 17 votes, out of over 150,000 votes.

Yesterday, Democrat Scott Murphy had been ahead by 83 votes, but that has now shifted -- an official at Saratoga County told PolitickerNY that they caught a mistake in their spreadsheet, having accidentally dropped 100 votes for Tedisco.

One county, Greene, told TPM today that they still haven't re-checked their totals, which should be done tomorrow.

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Yesterday I reported that NARAL is mobilizing in support of three Obama nominees--David Hamilton, Kathleen Sebelius, and Dawn Johnsen--who've been targeted by the right, at least in part, for their pro-life views.

Today, I spoke with NARAL's policy director Donna Crane, who gave me a bit more detail about the nature of their campaign. "We have emails going out [to members of Congress] almost every day," Crane said, "[and] we're doing phone banking for targeted senators."

Those targets won't come as much surprise. Crane says, "in general the senators we look at for these kinds of issues are the two senators from Maine, [Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins] pulled one way by their party and another by their values." She adds that "Sen. somebody we're looking at very closely."

NARAL's reportedly also targeting some pro-life Democrats, though there's considerably less concern that they'll oppose any of these nominees.

Below the fold, a copy of a direct mailer NARAL issued as part of their efforts.

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The Albert Lea Tribune, a local newspaper in Minnesota that endorsed Norm Coleman for re-election last year, has an editorial telling him in no uncertain terms to give it up:

This newspaper endorsed Republican Norm Coleman for senator, but now it is time for him to step out of the race and let Minnesota have two senators again.


Coleman is now only delaying the seating of Franken and in doing so is not servicing his staff, his financial contributors or the people of Minnesota.

For a time many Minnesotans followed the case closely, but now, after five months, they mainly see stalling. As for the rest of the country, at first, Americans thought Minnesota looked like a diligent place for vote recounts. Now, it's starting to seem like an election laughingstock.

And Coleman, who rails against career politicians, is looking like a career politician who is losing his career.

The editorial was published this morning, before Al Franken picked up another net 87 votes, now leading by 312 votes out of about 2.9 million.

Via Wired comes Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) accusing President Obama of gutting the military. Speaking from Afghanistan on a YouTube video posted by his press office, and contrasting the Gates proposal to the President's domestic budget, Inhofe said, "in all the time we're doing this, increasing all these welfares...the only thing in the budget that's being cut is military." Watch:

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On a conference call with reporters, Al Franken's lead attorney Marc Elias reiterated the campaign's position that the outcome of the Senate race is now certain -- that Al Franken is the winner.

"There are a handful of side issues that the court has yet to resolve, but none of them would involve enough votes at this point to affect the outcome," said Elias. "The total margin could change by a handful of votes, either up or down, but while the margin may not be set, the final result is no longer in doubt."

Elias said that Norm Coleman had the opportunity to bring his case -- and there were thousands and thousands of pages of evidence here -- but has only fallen behind: "So he will have to make the decision whether to appeal or not. But I think the question is not whether he has the right to appeal, but whether filing an appeal would be the right thing to do for the state of Minnesota."

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The DSCC has released these two statements, after Al Franken extended his lead to 312 votes when more ballots were counted today:

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee during the 2008 cycle, released the following statement:

"When you contest the results of an election, and you lose ground, you ought to know time is up. The people have spoken, and now that the courts have spoken, Norm Coleman ought to let the process of seating a Senator go forward."

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, current chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released the following statement:

"Today everyone saw proof of what we have known for a long time: once all the properly cast votes were counted, Al Franken won the election. The people of Minnesota deserve their second Senator and it is time to stop holding the seat hostage to pursue an ideological agenda. We have always said Norm Coleman deserved his day in court - he got two months. It is now time to move on, and let Senator-elect Al Franken get to work for the people of Minnesota."

The Miami Herald reports that Michael Steele urged state party activists in Florida to more aggressively register voters, to directly serve communities, and to reach out to blacks and Hispanics.

"Please send some folks to the convention that look like Florida," said Steele. "Could you help a brother out? No more national conventions with [only] 36 people of color in the room."

Here's the thing: In many ways, Steele is right.

If Republicans truly plan to filibuster Dawn Johnsen--Obama's Office of Legal Counsel chief-designate--Democrats will be able to point to a long record of Republican statements decrying the very idea of obstructing a President's prerogative to choose his cabinet officials and advisers. The group People for the American Way is circulating a document quoting several high profile Republicans who once decried the practice in no uncertain terms.

When President Bush nominated the fairly controversial John Ashcroft to be his Attorney General, Republicans raced to his defense. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)--then chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee--took to the Senate floor to argue that Democrats "must afford the President a significant degree of deference to shape his Cabinet as he sees fit."

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At post-court press conference, lead Franken attorney Marc Elias commented that the election contest is essentially over, with Al Franken the winner after the court had 351 previously-rejected ballots counted, which boosted Franken's lead from 225 votes to 312.

"Today is a very important step, as we now know the outcome of the election contest," said Elias, "and that is the same outcome as the recount, which is that Al Franken has more votes than Norm Coleman."

When asked whether he expected Coleman to appeal, Elias said: "That's a question at this point for former Sen. Coleman. I guess I would say the same thing about his appeal as I said about his case: That the U.S. court system is a wonderful thing, as it's open to people with non-meritorious claims."

In all seriousness, Elias also said that Coleman had weeks to lay out his case, call witnesses and produce evidence that he was the winner, in a very transparent process that involved members of all parties -- and that he has failed to do so, losing net votes at every stage of the process.

At one point, a reporter asked Elias what would happen if he found himself in front of Justice Scalia a year from now, arguing about Coleman's claims of equal protection. What would he say? "The only chance I'll wind up before Justice Scalia talking about equal protection a year from now is if we meet in a diner in Bethesda," Elias said, to the laughter of the reporters. "So I don't think that is at all a likelihood."

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