TPM News

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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Creigh Deeds' campaign flags a Washington Post story showing his rival Bob McDonnell (R-VA) took in $40,000 from Pat Robertson, his son and daughter-in-law at the last minute.

The story shows the campaign took in $25,000 from Robertson, who McDonnell has said he has only spoken to a few times this year.

Deeds (D-VA) has made an issue of McDonnell's ties to the religious right and suggested in a statement that the Republican is trying to hide an "out-of-the-mainstream social agenda."

Spokesman Jared Leopold emailed reporters:

"Bob McDonnell's true agenda has been revealed. Pat Robertson's chosen candidate has come back home. If Virginians want a governor beholden to Pat Robertson, Bob McDonnell is their man. But if they want a jobs governor, the choice is clearly Creigh Deeds."

TPMDC has obtained a copy of a Republican health care bill, making the rounds on Capitol Hill. Republican leaders have not officially unveiled the package, and warn that it is still changing, but the early draft, contains almost surprises.

Among the legislation's major goals are to enact malpractice reform, allow consumers to buy health insurance over state lines, cancel a federal comparative effectiveness research program created by the stimulus bill, and prohibit taxpayer-funded abortions.

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In a case already being compared to the Bernie Madoff affair, a lawsuit filed Monday in Broward County accuses south Florida "super attorney" Scott Rothstein of bilking investors in a scheme run out of the powerful firm Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, which now says it can't make payroll.

An attorney for one investor told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that the amount of money missing could be over $100 million, though it's not clear where it went.

Rothstein and his wife are jet-setters who live in a 6-plus million dollar Fort Lauderdale home and were known for driving a veritable fleet of expensive sports cars and showering their favorite charities with big donations. A flamboyant character who was once pictured on billboards with Miami Dolphins great Dan Marino, Rothstein grew up in a lower-middle class family in the Bronx. He's now out of town and possibly out of the country -- no one knows where exactly -- and the Feds have reportedly shown up at his law firm offices.

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At a get-out-the-vote rally today in New Jersey, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) continued to use the legacy of the unpopular George W. Bush as a cudgel against Republican gubernatorial nominee Chris Christie.

Menendez asked the crowd: "Are you going to vote for a Bush pioneer who will try to implement the same policies that led us into the worst economy since the Great Depression?"

Christie served as a U.S. Attorney in the Bush administration, and before that had raised money for the Bush 2000 campaign.

A Health Care For America Now spokesperson shot down the idea that progressives "inside the beltway" have a different view on Sen. Joe Lieberman's (I-CT) threats to filibuster health care reform than pro-reform groups outside D.C. do.

An article published in The Hill last night suggested progressives inside the beltway expected Lieberman to vote for cloture, based on discussions with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about private talks between the two senators.

Today, HCAN spokesperson Jacki Schechner denied that any such discussions had taken place and said that her group "is just as angry at Lieberman as anyone else" about Lieberman's anti-public option rhetoric. But Schechner that her group believes the threats from Lieberman to filibuster health care reform will prove to be hollow when all is said and done.

"It's political posturing," she said. "We think Lieberman will come around."