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Leading Off:

VA-AG: On Monday, the Virginia State Board of Elections certified Democrat Mark Herring as the winner in the state's ultra-tight contest for attorney general, giving him a 165-vote victory over Republican Mark Obenshain. That's just a one-vote change from two weeks ago, when local jurisdictions were required to report their results to the state board, which has to be painful for Obenshain. It's even more painful for Republicans in general, as Herring's win gives Democrats their first sweep of all five of Virginia's statewide offices since the late 1960s.

Because the margin is under half a percent, Obenshain can request a recount at state expense, though he didn't immediately do so. (The law allows him to wait 10 days.) Herring, meanwhile, once again declared victory. In a similarly close race for AG in 2005 that had Democrats narrowly behind, a recount failed to change the outcome. If this contest turns out the same way, Herring will be the first Democrat to hold the Virginia attorney general's post in 20 years.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).


IL-Sen: State Sen. Jim Oberweis has officially kicked off his campaign for Senate—and boy is it a strange kickoff. In his welcome video, Oberweis, a Republican who has lost five races for statewide or congressional office, partly apologized for his crummy electoral record, saying, "I made statements and commercials that I regretted and I've said so." He also had to answer questions about why his wife is registered to vote in Florida, admitting that the couple has spent a lot of time in the Sunshine State and awkwardly defending himself by claiming that he's "been in the state Senate every day the Senate has been in session." Oberweis is looking to unseat veteran Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin.

KY-Sen: We knew businessman Matt Bevin had money—now we finally know how much (sorta). Bevin, who is challenging Sen. Mitch McConnell in the GOP primary, just filed his first personal financial disclosures, which offer ranges of values for all of his assets and liabilities. Adding up the figures for each of his largest investments would give him a worth of between roughly $10 million and $50 million. Included among these is a checking account with a balance of $1 million to $5 million, which means Bevin is either a terrible investor or is about to start spending a lot of money hammering McConnell.

NE-Sen: Here's a tasty helping of cat fud from none other than the National Review, which chronicles a nasty blowup between Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Midland University President Ben Sasse, who is running in the GOP primary for Nebraska's open Senate seat. A couple of months ago, Sasse released a video exhorting McConnell "to show some actual leadership," and since then he's cozied up to the Senate Conservatives Fund, which endorsed him. McConnell, as you may recall, has declared open warfare against the SCF, threatening to blacklist any vendors who work with them.

So Sasse recently visited McConnell in D.C. to "clear the air," as the National Review puts it, but instead, McConnell lacerated Sasse, who reportedly declared "That didn't go well!" after leaving the meeting. More generally, though, the piece paints a picture of McConnell is a man besieged by the tea party—and just maybe losing it. On a conference call late last month, McConnell declared the SCF "a bunch of bullies" that he wanted to "punch in the nose." Perhaps it's just theatrics, but it sure sounds like conservative purists are really getting to Mitch.

VA-Sen: Republicans still don't have a candidate to take on Sen. Mark Warner next year, but with outgoing state AG Ken Cuccinelli dialing back the possibility of a run, there's a new name expressing some interest, state Sen. Jeff McWaters. As of 2010, McWaters was the wealthiest legislator in Virginia, with a net worth of at least $25 million, so that alone would make him attractive to the GOP. It would also be a free shot for McWaters, since the state Senate isn't up for re-election until 2015.

WY-Sen: Another boring ad from Liz Cheney that once again features a mind-numbing recitation of her family's genealogy, this time delivered by her three daughters. One even adds toward the end: "We're proud of our grandma and our grandpa. He was vice president of the United States." Really? No kidding! The buy is for a reported $40,000.


NE-Gov: State Sen. Annette Dubas has dropped out of the race for governor, citing family pressures, leaving former University of Nebraska Board of Regents member Chuck Hassebrook as the only Democrat running. Five Republicans are also seeking this open seat.


NH-02: State Rep. Marilinda Garcia, who'd been considering a run for Congress since at least last month, has decided to go ahead with a bid. She'll join ex-state Sen. Gary Lambert in the GOP primary, for the right to take on freshman Dem Rep. Annie Kuster. Also, a funny catch by James Pindell: Garcia's website features a picture of Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen with a monochrome blue filter applied. Probably not the person a Republican candidate for office in New Hampshire wants on her homepage.

NJ-03:  Former Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan, who lost last month's special Senate election to Democrat Cory Booker by double digits, says he's now considering a bid for New Jersey's newly open 3rd District—even though he said the Senate race would be his last. What also makes this amusing is not just how poorly suited Lonegan's extreme tea party conservatism is for this swing district, but the fact that Bogota—a tiny suburb just a few miles from New York City—is at the far end of the state from the South Jersey 3rd. Good luck, buddy!

NV-03: Professional poker player Frank Kassela, who very quietly (and unexpectedly) filed to run in the Democratic primary last month, has dropped out just as quickly. National Democrats had rallied around activist Erin Bilbray long ago; Kassela didn't quite endorse her in departing the race but said he wished her "all the best."

NY-13: Responding to a Roll Call story that mentioned him as a possible Democratic candidate for Rep. Charlie Rangel's seat, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa Patrick Gaspard called the idea "kooky" and said he has "zero interest." Among other things, Gaspard, a former DNC executive director, is from Brooklyn; the 13th District is based in Harlem and the Bronx.

TX-27: Former state Rep. Solomon Ortiz, Jr., the son of ex-Rep. Solomon Ortiz, recently met with the DCCC about a bid for his dad's old seat. The problem is, his dad's old seat doesn't really exist anymore. During redistricting, Republicans went to great lengths to shore up Rep. Blake Farenthold, the unlikely bit of tea party flotsam who defeated the elder Ortiz in 2010. Thus the new 27th only covers about half the turf of the old, and the demographics have changed dramatically. A district that had gone for Obama by 7 points in 2008 became one that went for McCain by 19, and it only got worse last year, with Mitt Romney winning 61-38. So while I wish Junior Ortiz all the luck in the world if he goes for it, this is really brutal territory for Democrats.

Other Races:

CA State Assembly: Democrat Matt Dababneh has been declared the winner in the special election in California's 45th Assembly District, in the Los Angeles area. Dababneh leads by 329 votes, or 1.2 percent, but Republican Susan Shelley is not conceding, saying she may contest the results. What's undisputed is that Dababneh badly underperformed Barack Obama, who carried this seat by a wide 63-34 margin last year. Dababneh blamed low turnout (what else is new for Democrats in special elections?) and the national mood regarding Obamacare, but this is a seriously rough dropoff regardless of the circumstances.

VA State Senate: Just ahead of state Sen. Mark Herring's certification as winner of the attorney general's race, Virginia Democrats tapped attorney Jennifer Wexton as their choice to succeed him in the anticipated special election for his 33rd District Senate seat. Republicans, meanwhile, are waiting to pick a candidate until after the expected AG recount, probably because they don't want to be seen as poormouthing state Sen. Mark Obenshain's chances of overtaking Herring. But that gives Dems an advantage, since Wexton can start campaigning right away, without any opposition.

The GOP did, however, select a nominee in the 6th District, which is being vacated by Democratic state Sen. Ralph Northam, Virginia's new lieutenant governor-elect. They chose shipping company executive Wayne Coleman, who will face Democratic state Delegate Lynwood Lewis. The dates for both specials have not yet been set, and assuming Obenshain opts for a recount, it's possible the 6th could get filled before the 33rd.

Grab Bag:

VA State Senate: Good news: State Sen. Creigh Deeds, who was stabbed repeatedly by his son Gus last week before Gus took his own life, is now out of the hospital.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Tue Nov 26, 2013 at 05:00 AM PST.

Also republished by Virginia Kos and Daily Kos.

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