The Latest Dirt From NY-20

Here’s a quick roundup of some news from the NY-20 special election:

• As the standard process of proofreading the vote spreadsheets has been conducted, Democrat Scott Murphy’s lead over Republican Jim Tedisco has actually shrunk from 65 votes to 25 in the latest AP numbers. These sorts of human errors are commonplace, and are usually very small and break about equally — but in a race this close, they can be consequential.

• The Washington Post reports that Democrats have privately predicted a Murphy win by 210 votes, when all the absentee ballots are counted. This is based on making projections for the home counties of the absentees, from the percentages for each candidate in the Election Day tally. But here’s a counter-example: when some previously-rejected absentee ballots in Minnesota were opened up and counted this past January 3, Al Franken ended up doing far better than geography alone would have predicted. It really does come down to which side had the better absentee ballot operation.• NRCC spokesman Ken Spain put out this statement in response to the Dem projections — a further example of how both sides are spinning the 50-50 result as a true victory for themselves: “It appears – by accident – that Democrats are finally admitting that the Republican registration numbers are a misleading indicator of the district’s inherent Democratic lean. According to their own ‘model’ they have either been deliberately offering up false statements claiming that the party registration favors Republicans or these numbers simply aren’t based in fact.”

• The absentee ballots that came in as of last night — and there’s still time for more to arrive in the mail — showed a plurality of registered Republicans. Then again, the district itself has a huge advantage in Republican registration, but Democrats have been winning recently because of big margins among independent voters. So we’ll see what happens.

• Everyone’s favorite RNC chairman, Michael Steele, has a column in the Politico predicting a Tedisco victory — and declaring this a repudiation of President Obama’s big-spending agenda: “Well, the voters have spoken, and while the results are still pending, Republicans are confident that the final vote tallies will show those voters have rejected the president’s approach.”