TPM News

As we told you Wednesday, Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) is just ahead of his Republican opponent Keith Fimian in a close race, and now the Fairfax County Board of Elections is canvassing the voting machines and examining provisional ballots.

With 100 percent of the precincts in, Connolly has 111,630 votes to Fimian's 110,700, according to state election data last updated at 1:56 p.m. on Thursday.

In Fairfax County, Connolly has 76,086 votes to Fimian's 71,571. With a split of 4,515 votes in Fairfax County, provisional ballots -- of which a county spokeswoman said there "a little over 100" -- aren't going to swing the result in the county. Still, some are concerned due to the involvement of Hans von Spakovsky, a Bush-era Justice Department official who was accused of politicizing the Civil Rights Division and putting an undue emphasis on combating voter fraud.

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Both sides are gearing up for a fight in the Minnesota gubernatorial recount -- the state's second consecutive statewide recount in two election cycles -- where Democratic former U.S. Sen. Mark Dayton leads Republican state Rep. Tom Emmer by just under 9,000 votes out of over two million.

As the Star Tribune reports, the state Republican Party is quickly working to mobilize its activist base:

The party sent out an e-mail Thursday, asking voters to contact it if they encountered or saw any irregularities at their polling places on Tuesday.

According to the party, such irregularities include voting machine malfunctions, unsecured ballots or voter intimidation.

The morning after the election, state GOP chairman Tony Sutton signaled the party's approach this time, saying "we are not going to get rolled this time."

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As you may have heard, President Obama will travel to India on Saturday, part of an overseas diplomatic mission that will put the president face-to-face with the leaders of a key strategic and trade partner, not to mention a regional nuclear power. For Obama, the India visit is a chance to get all presidential after his recent "shellacking." For India, it's a change to further a relationship mutually beneficial to both nations. For the right wing, it's a one-way ticket to Freakoutville.

Here's the right-wing India trip meme: Obama is spending more money -- $200 million per day -- than the nation spends daily on the war in Afghanistan, in order to fly something like one million planes full of his closest friends to a multi-day bacchanal on the steps of the Taj Mahal, all paid for by you, the taxypayer. Or something.

As Eric Lach reported earlier today, the meme is just about 100% garbage, according to the White House. "No basis in reality" was the way Deputy White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest described it.

But that hasn't stopped the engines of right-wing panic from spooling up to 11 over what is, basically, a totally normal -- though inarguably incredibly expensive -- part of being President.

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The Judge presiding over the California Attorney General's case against the Bell City officials expressed some doubts in a hearing today that the state had a case, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Ralph W. Dau said that the attorney general might not have the authority to pursue a lawsuit against the eight officials, who are accused of using public funds to inflate their salaries for elected position. "There is a real question of authority here," he said. "You say they're looting the city and you can enforce it, but where is the case that says the attorney general can enforce it?"

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The Associated Press has projected incumbent Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn as the winner in Illinois, a major upset result as he apparently defeats Republican state Sen. Bill Brady:

An AP analysis of uncounted votes from absentee and other ballots shows state Sen. Bill Brady won't be able to overcome the just more than 19,400-vote lead Quinn holds with 100 percent of precincts reporting Thursday.

Brady has not yet conceded the race, saying earlier that he wants all remaining votes, such as military absentee votes, to be counted.

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Yesterday, a damaged and contrite Barack Obama held a White House press conference and took ownership of Tuesday's devastating election results. With the exception of a handful of issues, Obama extended a cooperative hand to the newly emboldened GOP, and suggested a willingness to compromise on everything from tax cuts to energy policy to provisions of his health care law.

Today, at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell offered his rejoinder. And the contrast couldn't be more stark: For just about every entreaty Obama made, McConnell just said no.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi hasn't announced whether she'll retire, continue to serve in Congress, or even seek a leadership role in the next Congress, but already one of the House's most conservative members is trying to undercut her. Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC), who dodged the shellacking on Tuesday, says if Pelosi makes a play to be Minority Leader, he'll run against her.

"If there's not a viable alternative -- like I said all along -- I can go recruit moderate Members to run in swing districts," Shuler said. "In that situation, I could do it better than she could, and that's what it's going to take. It's going to take moderate candidates to win back those seats."

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A 25-year-old Maryland man was sentenced to one year in prison yesterday after sending email threats to an Illinois mosque, demanding that the mosque close or else he would "eradicate Islam."

The man, Ilya Sobolevskiy, pleaded guilty in August to obstructing the free exercise of religious beliefs, a civil rights violation. He was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Illinois to 12 months in prison and a $3,000 fine.

The judge who sentenced him called the threats "an act of terror."

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