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Bob “Who’re you?” Etheridge Cranks Up the Dem Recount Machine

Election day came, and for most people, has gone. A few can’t be called yet, for various reasons. But here in North Carolina the usual game of a Democrat trying to recount his way into an office he lost has begun. Etheridge was running for reelection in North Carolina’s second congressional district, which covers all or part of ten counties, against Renee Ellmers.  Bob “Who’re you?” Etheridge has called for a recount after losing his election.

Etheridge became a national figure this past summer after a video appeared on YouTube showing a college reporter working on a project approached the congressman as he left a Nancy Pelosi fund raiser. The student was manhandled by the congressman, who demanded over and over “Who’re you?” and “Who are you?” and “Tell me who you are.” Etheridge later apologized for his actions.

You would think that given such a gift from heaven in a race that wasn’t supposed to be competitive would have brought showers of cash from national political groups. You’d be mostly right, except for the NRCC, the National Republican Congressional Committee. As Ellmers recalls on her web site:

Months ago, I went to Washington and asked the National Republican Congressional Committee and many conservative leaders to help my campaign. Many conservative groups – like the Susan B. Anthony List, Concerned Women of America, Freedom Works, and Sarah Palin’s Sarah PAC all helped, but the NRCC declined. Later, they did support other campaigns in North Carolina – which, unfortunately, lost – but we never received their support. In fact, their spokesman told the press “that the campaign wasn’t ready for prime time” – which actually made it even harder for us to raise money.

Despite being ignored by the Country Club Republicans Ellmers won her race. The initial results indicated that she had won by a margin greater than one percent. That figure is critical because of North Carolina election law regarding recounts. The short version is that while a candidate can ask for a recount at any time, granting the recount is only automatic if the difference is less than 1%. (The state and county election boards can also conduct a recount when they think it is needed. Details on NC election recount laws are here.)

Tuesday night the margin was greater than 1%, and the AP declared Renee Ellmers the winner. Etheridge wasn’t having any of it. In the same story Etheridge was quoted as saying:

“I’ve been in close elections before, and we will follow the established process to ensure the integrity of the outcome. We will make sure every vote is counted and every voice is heard,” he said in a statement.

Same old poll tested stuff. We all know all every vote is important, and should be counted. That’s why the phrase works so well. But if Etheridge was so concerned about counting every vote, where was he when the US Justice Department failed to enforce laws designed to protect the votes of military voters? Are some votes more equal than others?

The Raleigh News & Observer reports that the results of any recount won’t be known for more than two weeks:

If there is a recount, it would be more than two weeks before the results are clear. Recounts at the county level would likely occur Nov. 17, 18 or 19, depending on when Etheridge files a formal request, McLean said.

The results would be made public immediately, but a winner would not be formally declared until the board’s Nov. 23 meeting.

Renee Ellmers, the only Republican candidate for congress in North Carolina to oust the Democratic incumbent (despite the NRCC neglect) faces having to pay lawyers for each of the ten counties in NC02, plus one for the State Board of Elections.  From a letter to her supporters that was posted today on her web site:

As a result, last night my campaign began hiring attorneys – eleven attorneys in all. One in each county to monitor each recount and an attorney to work with the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

Right now, our best estimate of the minimum cost we face is $50,000. But, of course, my campaign spent every penny we had before the election.

Yesterday, we appealed to the National Republican Congressional Committee for support, asking if they could contribute to help pay the costs of this recount. Their answer, unfortunately, was, No – that we would have to raise the money to pay for the recount ourselves.

The country club set at  NRCC has abandoned a grass roots candidate yet again. Clearly the old boy network there is interested in preserving their own power, not the will of the people. They need to be replaced, but that’s a fight for January. Right now, Renee Ellmers needs our help. (I should note that I live in NC04, not Ellmers’ district.)

You can read Renee Ellmers’ letter about the potential recount here.

You can make a contribution to help keep Bob Etheridge from using a recount to steal the election here. Please do.

Cross posted from Beregond’s Bar.

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