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November 6, 2012
Updated 1:45 a.m. | House Republicans were wiped out in the Northeast in Tuesday’s elections, especially in New England, where there won’t be a single GOP Member returning to Congress next year.
A Democratic duo, former Rep. Carol Shea-Porter and attorney Ann McLane Kuster, won House seats in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, Reps. John Tierney (D-Mass.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.) fended off tough challenges from GOP opponents. Former state Rep. Elizabeth Esty narrowly won an open-seat race in Connecticut’s 5th district, holding the seat for Democrats.
In the Empire State, two Republican freshmen lost re-election: Nan Hayworth and Ann Marie Buerkle. Rep. Kathy Hochul (D-N.Y.), who won a special election last year, lost her bid for a full term, marking one of her party’s only disappointments in the region.
There were no signs of a political motive for a break-in Monday at one of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s California homes, Capt. Tracey Stuart, a spokeswoman for the Napa County Sheriff’s Office, told Roll Call.
The perpetrators did not vandalize the residence or leave behind anything that pointed to a motive beyond burglary, Stuart said. There was nothing obviously missing, although the Pelosis have not been at the residence to check if anything is gone. Their belongings had been rifled through to “some” degree, Stuart said.
Police were alerted to the break-in by an alarm system at 2:53 p.m. Monday. Arriving on the scene, they found two glass doors broken, one to the main residence and a second to the pool house.
The house that was broken into was in St. Helena, Calif., in the heart of wine country in the Napa Valley.
Pelosi’s office did not reply to a request for comment. The Napa Valley Register first reported the incident.
After months of courting, some Spanish-speaking voters encountered problems casting a ballot today.
Voters exiting the Bailey’s Community Center in Falls Church, Va., one of Northern Virginia’s more ethnically diverse areas, said the morning was particularly challenging for elderly and Hispanic voters.
Speaking in broken English, Manuel Matamoros, a middle-aged Hispanic man, said a poll worker declined to help him with comprehension questions about the ballot — assistance he had no trouble getting in 2008.
A representative from the nonpartisan Election Protection Coalition told Roll Call this afternoon that there were reports of “massive confusion” in Pennsylvania, voting-machine problems in Ohio, long lines in southern Virginia, technical problems in Texas and difficulties in New Jersey.
Tanya House, one of the attorneys working with the group, said there are reports that voters in Pennsylvania are showing up at the polls and being told they need photo identification, even though a recent court ruling delayed implementation of the commonwealth’s new voter ID law until after Election Day. Voters there were also receiving mailings as late as Friday that referenced the need for a photo ID.
“Massive confusion in Pennsylvania,” House said. “The state did not do a good job about informing people that they do not have to show photo ID in order to vote. Poll workers are telling them they do and people are being turned away.”
The coalition has received multiple reports of issues with voting machines in Ohio. Voters at multiple precincts there are being directed to cast emergency ballots because of technical problems. The coalition is concerned that these ballots are being placed in the same boxes as provisional ballots, which won’t be counted until 10 days after Election Day.
Though lines in the Virginia suburbs around Washington, D.C., had subsided by midday, House said there were reports of long lines in the southern part of the state.
And near Galveston, Texas, House said there were multiple reports that polling places did not open on time because workers had improperly booted up machines. “Clearly that’s not a voter error, that’s an administrative error” that needs to be remedied, House said.
She also said New Jersey, where voters are struggling in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, is a “hot bed” of reported problems.
The coalition is “trying to get someone on the ground there to assist” voters who are having trouble sending ballots by email and who are being evacuated from their towns on the day they are supposed to vote, House said.
New Jersey announced earlier today that as long as voters requested an application for a mail-in ballot by email or fax by 5 p.m. today, county clerks will continue processing those requests until Friday at noon. The voter must return the special ballot by fax, email or to the appropriate county board of elections by 8 p.m. Friday.
Empty offices. Lobbyists scattered across the country volunteering on campaigns. This is K Street on Election Day.
Take the Podesta Group. Many of the bipartisan firm’s staffers spent the day working at phone banks from Arizona to Virginia or knocking on doors, urging voters to turn out.
“I did phones this morning, then I walked some neighborhoods as well,” said Arlington, Va., resident Josh Holly, a principal at the lobby firm.
Even as some New York City residents waited in lines to take buses to the polls, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today there’s a bigger problem: the state’s new voting machines.
“The system that we now have in place, instead of you going to one place to get your card and then into a booth, you go to one place, you get a folder, a card, a ballot, then you have to go to another place to fill it out while people look over your shoulder, then you’ve got to go to another place to stick that piece of paper into a scanning machine,” Bloomberg said at a news conference.
Bloomberg said he encountered delays and confusion at his own polling place today, with many voters unsure of the traffic flow to voting machines and the extra steps required to cast a ballot.
“They were just stunned, and I kept hearing, ‘What’s this, a third-world country?’” Bloomber said. “We did have machines incidentally that worked; they worked fine. You could go in, you closed the curtain behind you, you pulled the levers.”
The lines that greeted early morning voters in Virginia, Ohio and Washington, D.C., today seem to have, by many accounts, subsided until people leave work and there’s another influx at the polls.
Some of the longest lines were reported by District voters at the Columbia Heights Educational Campus on 16th & Irving streets Northwest, where multiple people told Roll Call they waited two or more hours to cast a vote this morning.
On Friday, we noted the 10 toughest ads of the cycle. For our last Daily Ad Track here on Election Day, we take a look at the best ads of the cycle. Some are negative, some are positive, some are defensive. But all cut through the clutter this year:
10. New Hampshire 1
Group sponsoring the ad: Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee
Women’s testimonials have cluttered television screens, but there was something about a montage of tough guys with facial hair talking about “women’s medical issues” that made us stop.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) ripped into campaign aides for GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney at a news conference this morning to discuss the recovery efforts from Hurricane Sandy.
Christie fired back at a story published Monday evening by the Huffington Post, which cited an unnamed Romney campaign source saying that Christie rejected a request from the Romney campaign to appear at a campaign event in Morrisville, Pa., not far from Trenton, N.J.
Christie said there was no such invitation. Moreover, he said that he spoke directly with Romney the weekend before Sandy made landfall to say that his responsibilities as governor would preclude him from making any more campaign trips. Christie had been a leading Romney surrogate.
“All this other noise, I think, are coming from know-nothing, disgruntled Romney staffers who — you know — don’t like the fact that I said nice things about the president of the United States. Well, that’s too bad for them,” Christie said.
The campaign may have slowed down for Election Day, but it hasn’t stopped, as both presidential contenders make their last ditch pitches to voters heading to the polls today.
After casting his ballot in Bedford, Mass., the state’s former governor and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney was en route to Ohio and Pennsylvania to urge voters to head to the polls. President Barack Obama planned to spend the day close to his Chicago home conducting television and radio interviews — many with stations in swing states.
Obama, who will participate in what has become a traditional Election Day basketball game, this morning made an unscheduled stop at a small Chicago campaign field office at the corner of Harper Avenue and Hyde Park Boulevard, according to pool reports. He was greeted by applause from his campaign aides and volunteers. He helped the get-out-the-vote effort by calling voters personally.
“This is Barack Obama. You know, the president?” he said, according to pool reports. “She was very nice to me even though she initially didn’t know who I was,” Obama said after the call ended.
Obama voted early in Chicago on Oct. 25, and the first lady cast her vote by mail on Oct. 15.
But like Romney, the vice presidential contenders — Joseph Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) — cast their ballots today.
Biden voted at Alexis I. DuPont High School in Greenville, Del., along with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, and other family members.
“Oh, I’m feeling pretty good,” Biden said after voting. When asked if this was the last time he expected to vote for himself, the vice president said with a grin, “No, I don’t think so.”
Biden then made an unannounced visit to Cleveland, Ohio, where his plane parked next to Romney’s. According to CNN, the vice president then headed over to the GOP challenger’s plane to greet Romney.
Ryan and his wife, Janna, voted this morning at the Janesville, Wis., library. They were photographed with their young children accompanying them. Ryan was then scheduled to head to campaign stops in Virginia and Ohio before meeting up with the top of the GOP ticket for an election night rally in Boston.
Obama, according to reporters traveling with him, planned to eat dinner at his home before delivering a speech at an unspecified time from Chicago’s McCormick Place.
November 5, 2012
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) signed an executive order Monday allowing voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to vote at any polling place in the state, with some limitations.
At a press conference late Monday, Cuomo announced that he would allow voters in affected areas to cast ballots by affidavit for president and statewide races at any polling place in the state. Voters using this option will not be able to vote in local races, including for Members of the House.
Unlike in New Jersey, New York voters will not be allowed to cast absentee ballots by email or fax.
A slew of Congressional candidates dipped into their own wallets over the past week to fund one final push in their campaigns.
Here’s Roll Call’s running tally, according to local reports and online filings with the Federal Election Commission:
- Last week, former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) guaranteed a $500,000 loan for his campaign against former Gov. Tim Kaine (D). An Allen aide described it as a bridge loan to ensure available funds while the campaign processed credit card donations. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.
- Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.) made a last-minute, $250,000 loan to aid her bid against Sen. Dean Heller (R). Roll Call rates this as a Tossup.
- Former WWE CEO Linda McMahon (R) continued to fund much of her campaign against Rep. Christopher Murphy (D). As of Oct. 17, she had contributed $40 million of her own funds to her race. Roll Call rates this as Leans Democratic.
- Attorney Kathy Boockvar (D) contributed $15,000 to her campaign to unseat Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.). Roll Call rates this race as Safe Republican.
- Rep. Mark Critz (D-Pa.) loaned his campaign $35,000 on Oct. 25. That’s in addition to the $64,400 Critz, a former House aide, still owes his campaign from his primary against fellow Rep. Jason Altmire (D). Critz faces attorney Keith Rothfus (R) in a race Roll Call rates as a Tossup.
- Former Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) contributed $500,000 to his campaign to defeat Rep. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) in the 11th district southwest of Chicago. A scientist and businessman, Foster has loaned his campaign big bucks in his previous bids. Roll Call rates this race as a Tossup.
- Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-N.Y.) wrote a check for $100,000 to her campaign on Oct. 29. She faces attorney Sean Patrick Maloney (D) in a race Roll Call rates as a Tossup. She also donated funds to her 2010 bid.
- State Rep. Randy Weber (R) gave his campaign $25,000 to defeat former Rep. Nick Lampson (D-Texas). Weber already loaned his campaign $226,500 earlier this cycle. Roll Call rates this race as Leans Republican.
For two years, Democratic leaders have focused on winning the 25 seats necessary for their party to take back the House. But with analysts predicting disappointing results for the number of seats they will pick up in Tuesday’s elections, aides and party operatives are privately lowering expectations about the net gain.
In internal conversations with Democratic lawmakers, leaders are “definitely lowering the expectations,” a senior Democratic House aide said.
The party is expected to net a single-digit number of seats, far from the 25 they need to reclaim control of the chamber.
Democratic aides speaking on background said the elections results will likely be a bitter disappointment, if not a surprise for some. Most Members and professional operatives realized long ago that winning back the House was not in the cards, and one source described complaints that top officials, including Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), were being unrealistically rosy in their public statements about the state of the races. Full story
Rep. Mazie Hirono (D) appears to be cruising to victory in the open-seat Senate race in Hawaii, but she’s nonetheless getting a final boost from President Barack Obama.
A new radio ad released over the weekend by the Hirono campaign features Obama expressing support for the Congresswoman, highlighting her connection to his family.
“Years ago, Mazie worked with my late grandmother. So Mazie isn’t just a reliable partner of mine in Washington; she is part of my ohana at home in Hawaii,” Obama said. “Now, I need Mazie’s cooperative style and commitment to middle-class families in the U.S. Senate.”
Former president Bill Clinton has recorded at least 45 robocalls for House Democratic candidates to use in the final days of their campaigns.
Clinton, who has been an asset for Democratic candidates at every level this cycle, has recorded calls for candidates from Florida to California. Here’s an example of one made for Ami Bera, a physician running against Rep. Dan Lungren (R) in California’s newly configured 7th district.