Syracuse.com via Live at 5 reports that the lawyers are in town:

Cars with Maryland, Michigan and Kansas license plates are parked outside the Wayne County Board of Elections in Lyons, a rural Erie Canal crossroads between Rochester and Syracuse.

Inside, lawyers for U.S. Rep. Dan Maffei, D-DeWitt, and challenger Ann Marie Buerkle are seated around a table in the break room with the two elections commissioners and their two deputies. All eyes are on the box of absentee ballots, still in envelopes two weeks after the election showed the 25th Congressional District too close to call.

Democrats understand that the president popularity is unlikely to improve much in the district over the next two years so if they want this seat they have to steal it NOW.

You can help Ann Marie hold them off by donating here.

I guess we can conclude that Nancy Pelosi’s attempt to pacify James Clyburn did not work:

The Congressional Black Caucus has decided to withhold its approval for the House Democratic leadership team, denying Speaker Nancy Pelosi full support of the 42-member organization as she campaigns to remain leader.

After a nearly two hour long meeting on Monday night, chairwoman Barbara Lee of California said the group only will endorse caucus member James Clyburn of South Carolina for a leadership position. The causus first wants to know what his role will be in the Democratic leadership before backing the full slate.

I guess they want to see the walking around money before they vote.

Live by the special interest, die by the special interest.

Following up on my last post I spoke to Ann Marie Buerkle this week:

DaTechGuy: How are the absentee ballots looking so far?

Ann Marie Buerkle: They are looking pretty good absentee ballots are breaking more from areas I’ve done well in.

DTG: So what kind of tactics have you been seeing the other side running?

AMB: Well first of all they asked for a manual count, the Judge has rejected that temporarily. No problems have come up with the machines. The DCCC and the Unions are here in force and their campaign has asked the media to in a memo to hold off reporting on the race. They’ve even been contacting voters at home to find how they voted! (DTG as I’ve reported here)

DTG: Has there been any issues with Military Ballots?

AMB: No they have steered clear of them, so far.

DTG: I guess that is the last resort, What kind of operation are they running?

AMB: The goal seems to be to disqualify as many republican ballots as they can, they are objecting to absentee ballots at a ratio of 3-1 compared to us.

DTG: And what about the congressman himself?

AMB: There has been sign of him, he has not make a statement or an appearance since election night. On Veterans day he didn’t even put in an appearance or a statement, very very unusual.

DTG: Speaking of unusual a lot of people seems to have been taken by surprise by your lead.

AMB: John McCain only took 43% of the vote in this district.

DTG: And there was that poll we talked about during Stacy McCain’s and my visit.

AMB: We worked very hard in Monroe County and took it 55-45. No Republican had ever taken Monroe county before. We did even better in Wayne county with 65% of the vote and I have to mention the grass roots effort in the town of Webster, simply masterful, volunteers knocked on every door and left materials at every house more than once. I can’t say enough about our volunteers.

DTG: And as the count goes on what will you be up to?

AMB: I will be attending the Congressional Freshman Orientation event in Washington.

DTG: Yeah with the current popularity of the president that a losing proposition, no wonder they are all in now. Finally with all the Union and DCCC help against you I presume you could use a few dollars to keep up.

AMB: Yes we need to be able to match them as they try to disqualify enough republican absentee ballots to manage a win.

DTG: And where can people give?

AMB: They can give at our post Election Fund here.

DTG: Ann Marie Buerkle thank you for your time

You might remember Ny-25 as one of the stops on my pre-election road trip. Well strange things seem to be going on over there.

The first strange thing is the absence of media attention, apparently this is a request from the Maffei campaign that has apparently not fallen on deaf ears:

any vote totals reported before every absentee ballot is counted are grossly incomplete and premature, particularly before ballots in Onondaga County are counted…While the media has responsibility to report the daily developments during the recanvass and tallying of absentee ballots, they also have a responsibility to characterize the early steps in this process accordingly.

Please please please reporters don’t report on the count at this time.

And what is going on that they don’t want reported on? Stuff like this:.

While the reasons for this effort are unclear, many agree it could be an attempt by some to identify who each person voted for in an effort to disqualify certain eligible ballots from being counted,” Buerkle said. “I would like the public to know that my campaign is not connected to this current effort. Further, no American — in upstate New York or anywhere — is in anyway under obligation to provide information to anyone on how he or she voted in any election, including my own.”

Buerkle’s statement did not name Maffei’s campaign as the party responsible for the calls, but a spokeswoman for the Maffei campaign confirmed they are calling voters in the district.

Maffei campaign communications director Abigail Gardner said Monday that while she believes they are asking how people voted, the reason for the calls is to ensure all votes are counted.

“It’s totally legal and there’s nothing really shady about it,” Gardner said. “I think we are asking how people voted, but the most important thing is to make sure that, if somebody cast a vote, that it’s going to be counted. There have been some problems.”emphasis mine

I think we are asking how people voted? I think! You don’t know?

Sure a campaign trying to play with the secret ballot? Nothing shady about that at all. Ann Marie Burkele’s campaign put out this statement:

Buerkle calls on voters who are contacted to ask who is calling and not feel that they must reveal how they voted.

“If anyone is contacted in this effort please know that your vote is privileged and under no circumstances should an individual be pressured into revealing how their vote was cast,” she said. “If you are contacted, ask them to provide their full name, for whom they work, why they are seeking this information and if you are required to provide this information.”

I’ve been wondering why this recount hasn’t gotten the attention others like NY-1 have. As the Maffei campaign lawyers up and activists start heading up to the area to try to salvage a seat from the big red wave, I guess we know why.

More to come.

Update: Looks like that count is heading in the right direction

The difference means that Buerkle has now widened her overall lead in the four-county district to 729 votes, according to unofficial election returns.

Buerkle picked up a net gain of 24 votes in Cayuga County (59 to 35 over Maffei) from absentee ballots, according to Cayuga County Election Commissioner Kate Lacey. Buerkle also had a net gain of 18 votes in Monroe County (630 to 612 over Maffei) after absentee ballots were opened from its three towns in the district, according to figures supplied by both campaigns.

By my calculations Maffei needs to win the Absentees in Onondaga county by twice the spread that he won the vote of to come out ahead, that’s not even counting any spread in Wayne county. I think it’s looking good.

Update 2: Added missing link

Nancy Pelosi seeing the fight between Jim Clyburn and Steny Hoyer for Minority Whip has demonstrated the ability she showed all during her time as speaker to make the tough decisions to solve problems.

In a statement released late Friday night, Pelosi signaled an end to the ongoing battle between Clyburn and Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) to be the next House Minority Whip — the second-ranking leadership position in the minority.

“Should I receive the honor of serving as House Democratic Leader, I will nominate Congressman Jim Clyburn of South Carolina to the number three leadership position,” Pelosi said in a statement sent to reporters at 11:01pm.

Number 3 position? She is not bumping John Larson as caucus chairman so what exactly is this #3 position that I’ve never heard of. What does it do? I’m sure Politico can tell us

Clyburn’s title and responsibilities were not specified in the announcement from Pelosi’s office, and Democratic leadership aides scrambled to explain the deal to reporters.

So let me get this straight. The Democratic Party faced with making an actual decision between two presumably qualified candidates for

South Park has the Democratic leadership pegged
the job that Jim Clyburn (who happens to be black) currently holds have agreed to put Steny Hoyer (who happens to be white) in Mr. Clyburn’s job and to invent a job, presumably with staff and offices paid via government funds, with no title and no specific duties for Jim Clyburn.

Who said that democrats didn’t know how to create or save jobs?

Hmmm let’s think about this, a totally unneeded job suddenly created for a member of a racial minority to avoid a conflict in an organization. What is the word that people have for a person who gets such a job for the sake of appearances. Oh I know, TOKEN.

I guess self-respect doesn’t come into play when power is involved.

Update: Separate but Equal? OUCH!

The Boston Globe reports that things are looking grim for Massachusetts:

Massachusetts could lose more than $200 million in funding this year — and quite possibly similar amounts each year for the foreseeable future — as the incoming Republican congressional leadership and President Obama take aim at earmarked spending projects.

At risk are a host of projects across Massachusetts. The Paul Revere House in Boston’s North End could lose $400,000 in funds for a crucial renovation project. The University of Massachusetts Amherst could see $2 million intended for a science building slip away. And a new Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate could lose $10 million — providing an unintended case study in the politics of federal spending.

Hang on a second didn’t we just hear all during the last election how much our delegation was able to “bring home the bacon” so to speak?

Massachusetts Democrats have long boasted of their ability to win hundreds of millions of dollars in earmarked funds for such projects. But speaker-in-waiting John Boehner, the Ohio Republican, has said earmarks must end,

Oh republicans are in charge in the House now where all spending much come from. Well I’m sure the Massachusetts members of the new House Majority will use what pull they have to help protect the state.

What that you say? While practically the entire country joined the big red wave Massachusetts once again elected only democrats? We don’t have any committee chairmen anymore or even a single member in the majority to try to help protect the state? Funny how the globe finds bad news now that the election is over.

Let’s be blunt. For months we have known the democratic majority in the house was doomed and as the president’s popularity continues to drop, 2012 is looking just as dark for Democrats.

Yet Massachusetts voters (perhaps with some help) choose to return Barney (Fannie/Freddie are fine) Frank and John (it was only 7 million my wife helped hide from Taxes) Tierney and the entire Massachusetts delegation. We knew about these things and voted them back in.

In a republic we always get the government we deserve. You wanted a delegation from the left. You’ve got it. As I said the day after the election:

…it will be the shock when you discover that all these democrats that you returned to congress are now in the minority and all of those tax dollars taken from you that they returned in lump sums at .82 cents on the dollar will not be coming back since they don’t have the clout to gain them and the republican house where all spending must originate is unlikely to approve them. If you had sent even a single republican to the house at least in one district there would be clout, but nope, no can do. You will miss that .82 cents on the dollar, but don’t worry the feds will meet you halfway. They will still take that dollar it was part of.

I don’t want to hear a single complaint from anyone on the left in the state over this.

And as for everyone else, you get another chance in two years. Don’t blow it.

In a conference call with the ACU I was able to talk to Randy Altschuler the republican in NY-1 who currently leads the count in that district by about 600 votes.

The machines in Suffolk county have been impounded and they are being audited right now, so far no problems have been found in machines. In addition 11k absentee ballots are still to be counted and there is a slight advantage in republican ballots to be tallied.

The other side is as you can guess is suing to force a full hand recount of all ballots. As you might realize one of the strategies for stealing an election is to keep recounting until you can disqualify enough ballots of your opponent or allow enough ballots of your own to be counted till you get a lead and then stop at once.

As you can guess this is a cash intensive problem to pay for lawyers and watchers to make sure everything remains on the up and up. Can you help?

You can contribute online at Randy’s site here or if you wish you can send checks to:

Randy Altschuler Recount Fund
PO box 657
Stony brook NY 11790

Your help can make all the difference between a seat going to our sides or theirs.

I know that turnabout is fair play but Manchin was elected as a democrat just a week ago. I think it would be dishonorable for him to suddenly switch sides without even giving the Majority he is a part of to demonstrate common sense:

Republicans are making some big promises to try to lure West Virginia Senator-elect Joe Manchin to cross the aisle.

Aside from his pick of committee assignments (likely the Energy and Natural Resources Committee), Manchin might get support for one of his pet projects – a plant to convert coal to diesel fuel that has stalled under Democratic leadership in Washington.

It’s one of Manchin’s pet projects and could mean big money for the state’s coal producers.

I know its politics but I think its bad form all around. Give it at least 6 months.

Martin Soloman bluntly says aloud what I’ve been hearing only in whispers.

Attached is a photo I took when a Neighbor to Neighbor organizer escorted a voter into the booth as an “interpreter” [See above]. Funny; the ballots were bi-lingual so I didn’t see the need for an interpreter. She was coaching voters to vote all “D’s” and on a few occasions she actually had the pen in her hand.

I was almost kicked out by the police officer who was sitting in the room when I took this photo but I told him I’d be more cooperative and sat back down. Soon after this photo the Baker legal team [Charles Baker, Republican candidate for governor] was able to convince the warden and the officer that this woman was not allowed to escort any more voters to the booths. She quickly changed tactics and started sending people in with a sample ballot filled out so the voter would just copy it. Incredible!

well that’s only one example, oh wait:

These “interpreters” were certainly the call of the day. At the location I was working, the “interpreter” was a priest — or some cat with a priest collar on from a church that sounded anything but sacred. I reported him numerous times to the two wardens who did talk to him, but argued with me about him being an interpreter. I informed them that typically interpreters don’t talk with their hands unless they’re in the deaf community. And they usually don’t need polling pens, to interpret, either. I also mentioned that the ballots were bilingual except for the names that were all over the TV, radio, lawn signs, etc. for the past year. None of this seemed to impart any wisdom on the wardens.

Read the whole thing and you won’t wonder why the results were so contrary to the polls around here.

When heading toward re-election pols tend to take the feelings of the voters back home a lot more seriously.

In Maine for example Republicans swept statewide elections pretty solidly. It should have an interesting effect on Maine two liberal republicans and the day of their next race comes closer.

In Massachusetts the clean sweep of offices for democrats will likely not be lost on Scott Brown when election day 2012 comes around. The same turnout machine that pushed Patrick et/al will still exist, and may even be aided by national money.

But the dynamic in the Senate has changed dramatically as George Will puts it:

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had 40 or 41 senators in his caucus, he usually had 40 or 41 votes when he felt he urgently needed them. Beginning in January, with at least 46 senators, he will always have 41 votes when he really wants them.

There are going to be times when Scott Brown is going to want to demonstrate his “independence” from the GOP caucus. With 6 votes to give McConnell will be able to do without Brown, or Collins or Snowe and still stop anything he needs to.

The question is this. Will he gain more sympathy at home opposing the GOP or not. Or to put it another way. We know the machine will be against him no matter what he does, so will he make more points with the electorate with the electorate going left or going right?

Of course he could just do the right thing and do what he thinks is right…