TPM News

Jane Corwin, the Republican candidate in today's high-stakes NY-26 special election, has obtained a judge's order to bar the certification of the result and impound certain election materials when polls close this evening. Such an action is not far out of the ordinary in New York, but is an indicator that a close result is expected.

"Usually, any time they expect the race to be somewhat close, they usually do the impoundment order so the parties involves have an opportunity to see how those ballots get counted," state Elections Board spokesman Thomas Connolly told TPM.

Connolly, who made clear that he did not yet have the chance to fully read the order, said that these orders typically apply to absentee ballots and provisional ballots (the latter of which are called "affidavit ballots" in New York). Also in New York elections, absentee ballots are not counted on election night at all, but in the following days.

However, the great majority of votes are cast on optical-scan ballots, and the readings from those scan machines will likely continue. "At the end of the day, we'll still have the machine numbers," said Connolly.

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Add Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) to the list of Republicans who plan to vote against the Paul Ryan budget when it comes up for a vote in the Senate this week.

"I am going to vote no on the budget because I have deep and abiding concerns about the approach on Medicare, which is essentially to privatize it," Snowe told The Portland Press Herald on Tuesday.

She added that the House GOP budget's proposal to block grant Medicaid and let states decide how to distribute the funds was also troubling.

"The states are the great laboratories," Snowe said. "But we also have an overall obligation to serve specific populations under Medicaid. We don't want to encourage a race to the bottom."

The Maine lawmakers joins Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Scott Brown (R-MA), and Rand Paul (R-KY) who have all declared their "no" vote early. Snowe, Collins, and Brown have cited its impact on seniors' Medicare benefits as their chief disagreement while Paul wants its overall cuts to go even further. Collins and Paul have made their position known for some time. Brown announced his position on Monday with an op-ed in Politico.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-WA)? A new PPP poll out Tuesday suggests voters in Washington state are largely unreceptive to the thought of the Ohio congressman moving west and running for office in their state.

In the poll, 39% of registered voters said Kucinich should not run for Congress from a new district that will be drawn next year as a result of last year's census reapportionment, while 12% said he should run. A bright spot fo Kucinich though, should he move to Washington and decide to run, is that a 48% plurality of voters are still undecided.

Also, while a 53% majority of voters there don't know Kucinich well enough to form an opinion of him, a greater percentage of voters don't like him (28%) than the percentage who do like him (19%.)

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rounded out a tumultuous visit to Washington with a speech to a largely sympathetic Congress Tuesday, compared to the tense relations on display with President Obama last week.

During the address, Netanyahu reaffirmed the close ties between the U.S. and Israel and once again rejected any suggestion of redrawing Israel's borders with a future Palestinian state along 1967 lines.

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Controversial preacher Bradlee Dean's morning prayer on the Minnesota House floor Friday has garnered him so much attention he's now asking supporters for money to hire a publicist.

"WOW! Did you ever think going to the Capitol to give a prayer paying homage to the Founders, the Veterans and Christ could be so offensive to our politicians?" Dean wrote to supporters, the Minnesota Independent reports. "We certainly didn't start this fight but we are more than willing to respond! Our small ministry team has been going non-stop the past 72 hours to not only defend the truth but to continue fighting for the foundation that made this nation so great."

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Both parties are calling in the big guns to rally voters as residents in New York's 26th district line up to vote in today's special election.

On the Republican side, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, one of the most popular party members nationally, has a robo-call making the rounds backing Republican Jane Corwin.

"Now, I'm sure you've received many phone calls about this election already, nut please just give me a few seconds of your time as the election draws near," Christie says in the call, according to The Buffalo News. "I'm calling to ask you for your support for Jane Corwin for Congress as you go to the polls Tuesday, May 24th. I ran for governor of New Jersey because like you, I wanted to see REAL change. Jane Corwin is a fighter who knows how to get things done. We're in critical times for our country, and Washington needs stand-up leaders who will fight to control spending and change business as usual."

Rallying Democrats, former President and current New York State resident Bill Clinton has recorded a call as well. Clinton's script focuses tightly on the Medicare angle that Democrats have been pushing in the district, an approach they credit with their current lead in the polls.

"You can count on Kathy to say no to partisan politics that would end Medicare as we know it to pay for more tax cuts for multi-millionaires," he says. "That's just one reason I hope you'll join me in supporting Kathy Hochul for Congress in the Special Election tomorrow, May 24th."

Could Republicans be in for a hard time next year now that the auto industry is struggling back to its feet? Democrats say yes. On a Tuesday morning conference call with reporters, former Democratic Govs. Jennifer Granholm (MI) and Ted Strickland (OH) said voters in their states are enjoying thousands of new jobs thanks to the auto industry bailout Republicans (these days, anyway) love to hate.

And with Chrysler completing its repayment of $7.6 billion in federal loans six years early, Democrats say the Republicans running for president -- all of whom slammed the bailout program, they say -- have found themselves on the wrong side on what has turned out to be a successful jobs program.

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