House Candidates in Undecided Races Beg for More Cash, Volunteers

Nov 5, 2010 5:58pm

ABC News’ Devin Dwyer reports:  If the campaign ain’t over 'til the fat lady sings, then one way to look at the handful of undecided U.S. House races is that the lady is too busy begging for money to fund a recount. Razor thin vote margins in several congressional districts where Republican challengers are hoping to knock off a few more incumbent Democrats have campaigns on both sides mobilizing for a fight. Renee Elmers, the Tea Party and Palin-backed candidate in North Carolina’s second district, leads her opponent Democrat Rep. Bob Etheridge by around 1,600 votes. The Associated Press even projected her as the winner. But Etheridge is not backing down. “We really feel with the way the trend is going now that we’re going to win this race,” he said Thursday. Elmers is not taking any chances, telling supporters in a fundraising letter Thursday that she’s hiring 11 attorneys to monitor the vote count in each of the district’s counties – all to the tune of at least $50,000. “I never dreamed I’d be asking you for another donation two days after the election – but I need to raise $50,000 ‘yesterday,’” she says.  The NRCC apparently declined to help foot the bill; but Sarah Palin has begun riding to the rescue. “SarahPAC help is on the way for @Renee4Congress recount fund. Will other PACs join us? How about Beltway GOP?” Palin tweeted Friday. Meanwhile, in Arizona’s 8th district where Republican challenger Jesse Kelly trails Democrat Rep. Gabrielle Giffords by roughly 3,000 votes, the call is out for volunteers to hover over county election officials as they make their final tallies. “We need volunteers to observe the ballot counting in Pima Co. Plz contact Lynne [number withheld] if you are near Country Club and Valencia,” Kelly tweeted Friday. Republican businessman Keith Fimian, who’s trying for a second time to unseat freshman Democrat Rep. Gerry Connolly in Virginia’s 11th district, is also begging for donations and volunteers to wage his fight to the bitter end, even though he’s behind by 900 votes.  ”This process has required us to hire an experienced election lawyer and continue paying staff to engage a strike force of several dozen volunteers who are vigilantly monitoring the process for us,” Fimian spokesman Tim Edson said in a fundraising email.  And in California, where anyone who wants a recount must pay for it themselves, trailing candidates in two House races are likely mulling the fees they may have to fork over in the days ahead.   In Alameda County, as the Mercury News notes, a recount requires a $5,000 deposit and up to $1,500 a day. Republican David Harmer trails incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney by around 500 votes in the state’s 11th district, while Democratic Rep. Jim Costa is staring down a 2,000-vote gap with Republican Andy Vidak in the 20th district. Five other House races – IL-08, KY-06, NY-25, TX-27, WA-02 – are awaiting final vote counts and certification by state election officials before potential recounts or legal challenges could ensue.

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