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No matter what the final outcome, the NY-23 race has changed the game for Republican primaries. Conservatives across the country are now in a search for the next Dede Scozzafava, the establishment GOP nominee Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman was able to defeat by convincing rank-and-file Republicans to leave the candidate their party's leaders had chosen.

In Florida, Marco Rubio's campaign says conservatives have found their new Dede in Gov. Charlie Crist.

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In our post from earlier today about the conservative efforts to gin up bogus voter fraud fears, one point we didn't go into -- but Adam Serwer at the American Prospect now has -- is the silliness of the notion that provisional ballots are particularly vulnerable to voter fraud.

A central component of the current right-wing freakout is the fact that there are likely to be a higher number of provisional ballots cast in New Jersey this year. That, so the thinking goes, makes fraud more likely.

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Independent New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggett voted this morning -- in a process that involved some jokes about his obscure location on many county ballots, mixed in among numerous minor candidates.

As the Star-Ledger reports:

After taking a few minutes to fill out his ballot a poll worker said, "he can't find his name!"

When Daggett emerged he responded, "I found my name. I practiced on the sample ballot."


On my own absentee ballot, issued by Essex County, Daggett's name was ninth out of 12 choices. Corzine was first, and Christie was second, with a whole lot of lesser-known independent and third-party candidates between Daggett and the two major nominees.

Are Senate centrists trying to broker a comeback for the so-called trigger option?

Two key conservative Democrats say they, along with Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) haven't given up hope.

"There's a possibility that [triggers could make a comeback]," said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE). "Right now, we don't know what the actual version of the plan is, because it hasn't come back from CBO...so I think when we get that back, we'll take a look and see what the scoring is, and maybe figure out what chance that plan has to get enough votes. My expectation is that it probably doesn't have enough to get 60 votes to get off the floor if it gets on the floor."

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We've been hearing all day about low turnout in Virginia, with no lines and fewer ballots turned in at this point in the day than one year ago when there was record participation.

But gubernatorial candidate Creigh Deeds, who is banking everything on turnout, is telling people otherwise.

Deeds Campaign Manager Joe Abbey tells reporters in an email:

"We are seeing encouraging numbers in key parts of the state. Northern and Central Virginia in particular look strong. The Charlottesville area, which includes areas represented by Creigh Deeds in the state Senate is particularly strong and 10 percent of voters in key Democratic precincts had already voted by 10 AM. Meanwhile, voters in the populous and Democratic precincts of Alexandria and Arlington have been voting at rates well above the average in other parts of the Commonwealth."

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Dede Scozzafava, the New York state Assemblywoman and former Republican candidate in the NY-23 special election, told the Syracuse Post-Standard about her experience in withdrawing from the race and endorsing Democrat Bill Owens -- and decried the national conservative activists who mobilized against her and in favor of Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman.

Scozzafava said that she received calls from two key New York Democrats, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Steve Israel, who she says did not ask her for any endorsement but instead simply told her they were sorry for how she'd been treated by the GOP. As for the Republicans, Scozzafava said: "The one thing that wasn't occurring, as the Republicans in Washington were changing their allegiances, no one bothered to call me."

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We now have a report of on-the-ground mischief in NY-23, the sort of interference that Republicans have been warning about for today. The catch: Democrats are claiming that the mischief is coming from supporters of the Conservative candidate, Doug Hoffman.

The New York Daily News reports that police were called to polling sites in St. Lawrence County, a Democratic area in the district, to deal with some rowdy Hoffman-backers.

Former state Democratic chairwoman June O'Neill claimed that Hoffman-supporters are "yelling anti-choice stuff at voters" near the polls, that a woman involved said she was a "commissioner" -- and is allegedly from Texas -- and wouldn't leave the polling site. "This is not the way we roll in the North Country," O'Neill quipped.

The county's Republican election commissioner Debbie Pahler (each county in New York has two election commissioners, one Democrat and one Republican) confirmed to the paper that the police were called, but said that this was a routine matter of people electioneering within the 100-feet boundary around a polling site. "If people are electioneering within the marker and don't stop when we ask them to, our inspectors are instructed to call law enforcement to assist them. I don't think anybody was arrested."

The Republican civil war in the special NY-23 congressional race -- in which a moderate GOP candidate dropped out and endorsed a Democrat after prominent Republicans defected to support Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman -- will be a factor in 2010 House races, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said during today's press briefing.

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A day after Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) said health care reform poses a greater threat than "any terrorist," a member of the House Republican leadership clarified that the legislation is like an "internal" terrorist attack.

Roll Call (sub. req.) reports that Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), the vice-chair of the House Republican Conference, is leading a new push this week to use GOP women to fight the House health care bill.

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