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Watching VA-5 and Elsewhere

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It is early in the night and it looks like it is going to be a long night.
Here is a link to the county-by-county results in VA-5. Currently, Republican Robert Hurt is performing well in Franklin and Pittsylvania Counties, but Perriello improved his numbers in Danville City and most of the vote in Charlottesville and Albemarle have not come through yet.
Keeping an eye on the race in Kentucky's 6th congressional district where Ben Chandler is holding on to a slim lead. Also, keep an eye on the South Bend-based district where Joe Donnelly has just overtaken Jackie Walorski after trailing all night.
As always, unless you know which precincts are reporting, raw data is not very helpful. But, these races are all close, as they were expected to be.

Turnout Update

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At 4 p.m. in Charlottesville City, the percentage of voters casting ballots in today's midterm election was up to 34 percent. It was at 25 percent at 1 p.m.

In surrounding Albemarle County, turnout as of 4 p.m. had risen to 43 percent, up from the 32 percent who had voted by 1 p.m.

These are strong numbers in the most Democratic leaning part of VA-5. Look for it to be a long night.

Albemarle County vs. Charlotteville City

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In my previous post, I said that Albemarle County is centered on Cahrlottesville, and so it is. But, for election purposes, the city is distinct from the county that surrounds it.

As of 1 p.m. in Charlottesville City, 7,059 people had voted, or 25 percent of all voters. That is more than a third of the 19,642 who voted in the 2008 congressional race in Charlottesville.

Big Turnout in Charlottesville

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As of 1 p.m., 22,733 voters in Albemarle County, Virginia had already voted. Albemarle County includes the crucial city of Charlottesville.

"It's as if it was 2008," Lauren Eddy, Deputy Registrar of Voters told NCR. The figure represents 32 percent of all eligible voters.

By way of comparison, in 2008, a total of 50,279 votes were cast in the congressional race in Albemarle County, with Cong. Tom Perriello taking just over 63% of the total.

In 2006, a total of 36,417 voters cast ballots in Albemarle County in the last midterm congressional race.

Chilling Comment From Judge in Immigration Suit

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I listened to part of the Court of Appeals hearing on the Arizona Immigration Law yesterday.

At one point in the proceedings, one of the judges was asking the lawyers why the State could not pursue its interest in detaining criminals and he referred to "illegal aliens, many of whom are criminals."

Many? Based on what particular data did the judge say this? And, wouldn't you want to know if the judge had any fresh fruit with his breakfast and which "criminal" he thinks picked it. Wouldn't you want to know who cleans his house or does his yardwork.

I was appalled.

If a judge thinks this "many" undocumented workers are criminals, it is not hard to guess how he will rule in this case. If he is that much of a bigot, he should recuse himself.

Voting: Don't Take It For Granted

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I have dim memories of the 1968 and 1972 elections.

But, my first vivid memory of an election happened in the summer of 1973 when I lived in Athens with friends. Greece was still governed by a junta of military leaders. They were trying to create an air of legitimacy for their regime, and so they decided to hold a referendum on a new constitution.

The day before the voting, three truck loads of armed guards, complete with machine guns, arrived at the polling place in the school across the street from our apartment. The ballots to vote in favor of the referendum were marked "Nai" or "Yes" in bright blue, the national color of Greece. The "Oxi" or "No" ballots were in a dingy grey. The voters selected a ballot and put it into a translucent envelope and if you selected the grey "Oxi" ballot, your name was taken down.

This was not how we had voted in my hometown in Connecticut which was, and is still, governed by an annual town meeting.

Countering Spin

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Later tonight, we will see how big the Republican wave is going to be. Every independent prognosticator is predicting that the GOP will take the House and narrow the Democratic margin in the Senate. If it is a big wave, a tsunami even, the GOP has a shot at taking the Senate too. Yesterday, a group of experts offered us a look into their crystal balls, predicting surprises in Pennsylvania’s Senate race, the congressional race that in Virginia-5 that has captured the imagination of main stream pundits, the Oregon governorship and the topsy-turvy Alaska Senate race. I suspect there may be even more surprises, but today I want to float some of the spin we will hear, and refute it.

Blast from the Past: Cook Political Report

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Last May, just before the special election to fill the seat left vacant by the death of Rep. John Murtha in PA-12, this was what the Cook Political Report had to say:

"Republicans have no excuse to lose this race. The fundamentals of this district, including voters' attitudes towards Obama and Pelosi, are awful for Democrats. And Democratic party registration advantages here are just as obsolete as GOP's advantages in Upstate New York were last year. Timing is no excuse for Republicans either. This special election, not the competitive statewide Democratic primaries held the same day, will be driving turnout on May 18th. With both candidates and party committees plus some outside groups likely to be up on air with full buys between now and the election, there will be far more dollars spent per vote on the PA-12 race than on the Senate or gubernatorial primaries.” [Cook Political Report, 4/27/10]

There are a lot of differences between a special election in one district and a nationwide midterm, but it is worth remembering this election eve that one of the foremost prognosticators in the land underestimated the effect of the Democratic Party's Get-Out-the-Vote effort.

Yahoo Watch: CatholicVote.org

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How did I miss the fact that CatholicVote.org endorsed Sharron Angle? This is the candidate who ran the single most racist, anti-Latino ad in the country, showing menacing Latino males walking down a dark alley while scary music played in the back and the voice-over warned about immigration. I am wondering if our friends who are so professedly concerned about how Catholics should vote arranged a screening of that ad with Archbishop Gomez?

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December 5-18, 2014

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