- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2006

Narrow victory

A painfully thin lead for Democrat Joe Courtney on election night last week shriveled to an even narrower victory after a recount in all 65 towns in Connecticut’s 2nd Congressional District.

With the roller-coaster recount that uncovered vote-counting flaws in several towns, Mr. Courtney eked out a 91-vote victory over three-term Republican Rep. Rob Simmons, according to results tabulated by 65 town clerks and reported to the Associated Press.

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On election night Nov. 7, he led by 167 votes of nearly 250,000 votes cast.

“This is doing it the hard way,” Mr. Courtney told the AP on Tuesday.

Wyoming winner

Rep. Barbara Cubin, Wyoming Republican, won a seventh term, defeating Democratic challenger Gary Trauner, officials announced yesterday after a final state canvass of last week’s vote.

The race was close, but not close enough to trigger an automatic recount, the Associated Press reports.

The State Canvassing Board, made up of Wyoming’s top four elected officials, certified the results yesterday showing Mrs. Cubin with 93,336 votes, or 48.3 percent, to Mr. Trauner’s 92,324 votes, or 47.8 percent. Libertarian Thomas Rankin got 7,481, or 3.8 percent.

The numbers were unchanged from those submitted by county canvassing boards on Monday.

Georgia finals

Georgia Democratic Reps. John Barrow and Jim Marshall were certified the winners of their respective races yesterday, all but ending Republican hopes of knocking off at least one Democratic incumbent in the Nov. 7 congressional races.

Mr. Barrow defeated Republican Max Burns in eastern Georgia’s 12th District by just 864 votes out of 142,438 cast, according to the final tallies released by Secretary of State Cathy Cox. In middle Georgia’s 8th District, Mr. Marshall defeated Republican Mac Collins by 1,752 votes out of 159,568 cast.

Both Republicans challengers are former congressmen who had been considered among Republicans’ best chances to counter what became a Democratic landslide last week.

Neither had conceded defeat as of yesterday afternoon, but only Mr. Burns could demand a recount because he lost by less than 1 percent of the vote. He has two business days to do so, under state law, the Associated Press reports.

Power corrupts

“That didn’t take long. Proving that power corrupts quickly, Democrats are veering off course before they even formally control Congress. Their claims of a mandate to bring the troops home from Iraq are both false and dangerous,” New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin writes.

“New leaders in the House and Senate apparently can’t stand the suspense of pretending to be responsible moderates. Throwing good sense out the window, they’re stampeding the exits even before we see the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group,” Mr. Goodwin said.

“House Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi made her first mistake with her first decision — backing Pennsylvania Rep. Jack Murtha as her deputy. Murtha’s reputation for corruption is exceeded only by his reckless call for immediate withdrawal of our troops. When he raised that idea last year, he got support only from Pelosi and a few others. Time has not improved her judgment.

“The Senate is no better. Michigan’s Carl Levin is so eager to make the Armed Services Committee more important than the White House that’s he’s got his own plan for ending the war. Dragging out the left’s favorite euphemism for surrender, ‘phased redeployment,’ Levin plans a bill that would force President Bush to start moving U.S. forces out in four to six months. ‘The point,’ he said, was to tell the Iraqis ‘that they are going to have to solve their own problems.’

“He also said the move ‘would be a reflection of the people’s voice as expressed’ in the election.

“Whopper Alert. First, Dems didn’t run on promising to pull the troops out, so it’s a big fat lie for them to claim that’s why they were elected. They ran almost exclusively on criticizing Bush’s handling of the war, not on alternative ideas. If you want a mandate, you have to lay out a plan before the election.”

Kucinich’s ‘solution’

Rep. Dennis J. Kucinich, Ohio Democrat, yesterday called for cutting off funding of the Iraq war.

“I want to say that there’s one solution here, and it’s not to engage in a debate with the president, who has taken us down a path of disaster in Iraq, but it’s for Congress to assume the full power that it has under the Constitution to cut off funds. We don’t need to keep indulging in this debate about what to do, because as long as we keep temporizing, the situation gets worse in Iraq,” Mr. Kucinich said in an interview with Amy Goodman posted at www.democracynow.com.

Stunt man

A Democratic activist in Portland, Maine, who was arrested after he was spotted on a highway overpass dressed as Osama bin Laden on Halloween, faces additional charges for the stunt.

Tom Connolly was charged yesterday with terrorizing and reckless conduct, in addition to the original charge of criminal threatening, prosecutor Stephanie Anderson said. All three charges are misdemeanors.

“Halloween or not, in this day and age, you do not get to dress as an international terrorist and wave what appears to be an AK-47 at rush-hour traffic,” Miss Anderson said.

Mr. Connolly, 49, a defense lawyer, made headlines when he divulged George W. Bush’s drunken-driving arrest days before the 2000 presidential election.

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail, but a lengthy jail term was unlikely, Miss Anderson said. A trial was scheduled for Dec. 19, AP reports.

Guilty plea

The mayor of Jackson, Miss., pleaded guilty to weapons charges yesterday in a deal with prosecutors that lets him stay in office and out of jail.

Mayor Frank Melton, who has taken a hard stand against the city’s rising crime rate, stood and acknowledged the agreement more than 90 minutes after his trial on the charges was to start. A jury had already been seated, the Associated Press reports.

Mr. Melton, 57, pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors for carrying a weapon into a church and a park, and no contest to a reduced charge on what had been a felony count involving a gun on a university campus.

He was given a six-month suspended sentence on each count, plus one year of probation, and was fined $1,500.

Under state law, a felony conviction would have forced Mr. Melton from office and could have sent him to prison for as long as three years. Prosecutors agreed to reduced the felony for carrying a gun onto the campus of the Mississippi College School of Law to a misdemeanor of carrying a concealed weapon in exchange for the pleas.

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or [email protected]

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