In the 2004 elections, seldom was heard a discouraging word for Republicans; however, there were some late exceptions. And these pockets of light at the end of the Democrats’ dark tunnel appear to be the result of the donkeys playing hardball while the elephants were playing tiddly-winks.
Let’s start in Washington–the West Coast state, not the police state–where Democrats snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the gubernatorial race. No sooner was the original vote count complete showing a razor-thin victory for the Republican candidate, Dino Rossi, when the Democrat political machine went into overdrive.
The race immediately popped up on the Democrats’ national radar screen. DNC Chairman Terry McAuliffe was talking the recount up on national TV while pouring a ton of resources and money into “stealing” this one from the GOP column. And they didn’t stop turning up rocks until they found enough votes to swing the election.
I mean, they really pulled out all the stops. They were in court pleading their case for “counting every vote” while simultaneously going door-to-door tracking down potential Democrat votes which, for one reason or another, hadn’t been included in the initial vote tally. Note, they didn’t check in with every vote that hadn’t been counted … only those of Democrats.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s not the Democrats’ job to dig up potential Republican votes in a recount. That’s just good, old-fashioned political hardball. The Republicans could have (should have) done the same thing. Instead, Washington state GOP Chairman Chris Vance contented himself with whining about how “unfair” the whole thing was.
In any event, the first machine recount showed Rossi with an even slimmer margin of victory, but a victory just the same. But did the Democrats accept defeat? No. They ponied up the money required to demand a hand recount.
Then suddenly, several hundred “lost” ballots magically appeared (likely distant cousins of Hillary’s missing billing records) in King County, a big Democrat stronghold. Republicans, for their part, were unable to conjure up any new votes, legitimate or otherwise, in heavily Republican counties, but truth be told, it doesn’t appear they even looked very hard.
Guess which party’s candidate will be sitting in the governor’s chair next month? Yup, Democrat Christine Gregoire. That is, unless the GOP can persuade the state to declare an electoral “mulligan” and get a brand new election. But don’t bet your red-state farm on it.
Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Republican Steve Troxler defeated Democrat Britt Cobb by 2,287 votes for state agriculture commissioner on November 2. However, a voting machine glitch in Carteret County wiped out 4,438 votes that had been cast early.
Now, if you held a new election just for the 4,438 people who had their votes mistakenly erased (or even held a new vote just in Carteret County) it’s highly unlikely that the Democrat would come up with enough votes to wipe out the Republican’s margin of victory. So the North Carolina Board of Elections voted 3-2 on December 29 to hold a new election statewide, probably around mid-March. Voter turnout is expected to be “maybe less than 10 percent” of what it was in November. This would appear to be the only way the Democrats could possibly have a shot at winning this seat.
By the way, the three votes for a new statewide election were all cast by Democrat board members. Go figure.
Which takes us back out west to Montana, where a state supreme court ruling has now handed control of the state House of Representatives to the Democrats.
Back on November 2, the Constitution Party candidate in the 12th District edged out the Democrat candidate by one vote, which effectively resulted in Republicans controlling the House by one vote. But a recount immediately afterward left the two candidates tied.
So the Democrats then challenged seven ballots which they claimed had been marked for both the Constitution Party candidate and the Republican candidate in the race (interesting that the “spoiler” shoe should be on the GOP foot for a change). The court voted 6-1 to toss out “one or more” of the disputed ballots, which threw the race to the Democrat, which now leaves the House evenly split at 50-50, which gives the Democrats control since state law requires that the speaker of the House be from the same party as the governor, who will, by virtue of his election in November, be Democrat Brian Schweitzer.
There are political lessons aplenty here for Republicans, the most important of which was best articulated by Winston Churchill, who said, “Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give (up).” Or to put in another way, it ain’t over till the horizontally-challenged lady sings.