Campaign Notebook

Democratic recount shows little change in N.H. vote tally

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January 24, 2008

CONCORD, N.H. - A recount completed yesterday of about 40 percent of the ballots in New Hampshire's Democratic presidential primary closely tracks the results reported on election night.

"None of the results, as far as where the candidates finished, changed," Assistant Secretary of State David Scanlan said. "There were minimal changes in the different voting precincts. Where there were differences beyond one or two votes, we were able to explain them" as human error.

Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio sought the recount based on Senator Hillary Clinton, who won the primary 39 percent to 37 percent, mostly beating Senator Barack Obama where votes were counted by machine, but mostly losing to him where votes were counted by hand in the Jan. 8 primary.

Analysts said the difference in voting patterns between machine- and hand-counted precincts dates from at least the 2000 Democratic primary, and stems from demographic patterns rather than fraud.

Scanlan said the state stopped the recount after using up the $27,000 Kucinich paid toward a statewide recount.

Votes were recounted in 68 of the state's 301 precincts, 23 percent. They accounted for a disproportionate share of the vote because they comprised all of one populous county, Hillsborough, and most of another, Rockingham.

In the recounted precincts, Clinton dropped 25 votes, to 48,940; Obama also dropped, by 7 votes to 38,408.


Clinton, Obama backers say they want both on ticket

The race for the Democratic presidential nomination is tightening as voters say they want both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on a national ticket, a national Bloomberg/Los Angeles Times poll indicates.

Clinton leads Obama, 42 percent to 33 percent, down from the 24-point advantage she held in early December. Three out of five supporters of each candidate say they would like Clinton or Obama, if nominated, to choose the other as a running mate. John Edwards trails well behind with 11 percent support, and if he were to drop out, more of his backers may head to Clinton than Obama, the poll indicates.

Among Republicans, John McCain tops the field with 22 percent, followed closely by Mike Huckabee with 18 percent and Mitt Romney with 17 percent. The biggest change in the poll is the shift for former front-runner Rudy Giuliani, whose support plummets almost by half to 12 percent since a survey last month.

While the Democratic race is really down to two candidates and the Republican field remains "wide open," the poll indicates that no contender in either party can claim the title of front-runner, says Susan Pinkus, the Los Angeles Times polling director. "It's anybody's guess who's going to win."


Rendell backs Clinton, citing record in the Senate

CARLISLE, Pa. - Governor Ed Rendell said yesterday he is backing Hillary Clinton for president, a key endorsement in a delegate-rich state that votes April 22 and could be critical if the race remains unresolved after Super Tuesday.

Rendell said he has known Clinton for at least 15 years, was impressed with her as first lady and believes her performance as a New York senator has been "spectacular."

"She really cares about moving this country forward," said Rendell.

Rendell becomes the 24th governor to endorse during the presidential primaries, when their support matters most, lending their names, fund-raising, and organizing machinery to campaigns.

Among Democrats, Clinton leads with 10 endorsements, including nods from Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York and Governor Ted Strickland of Ohio, the state that sealed President Bush's victory in 2004. Barack Obama has five endorsements, including the support of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, the nation's only black governor and a one-time top official at the Justice Department during the Clinton administration.

On the GOP side, John McCain has four endorsements to Mitt Romney's three. Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, has support so far from only one governor, Mike Rounds of South Dakota. Governor Rick Perry of Texas is the only governor to endorse former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, the biggest prize on Feb. 5, has yet to back a candidate, though he has met with McCain, Giuliani, and Romney and talked to Huckabee by phone.


Republican contenders pick up key endorsements

The leading Republican contenders in Tuesday's crucial Florida primary each picked up noteworthy endorsements yesterday.

John McCain announced the support of retired General Norman Schwarzkopf, the top commander in the first Persian Gulf War, whose backing should help McCain make even more inroads into the sizable military community in Florida.

Mitt Romney claimed the endorsement of veteran US Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, who had supported Fred Thompson before Thompson withdrew from the race Tuesday.

Rudy Giuliani said he has the backing of former veteran Florida congressman Clay Shaw, a former Fort Lauderdale mayor who lost his seat in Congress after a quarter-century in the Democratic surge in 2006.

And Mike Huckabee was endorsed by US Representative Duncan Hunter of California, who dropped out of the presidential race on Saturday.

Three new polls released yesterday showed a fluid race in Florida - and showed Giuliani, who has staked his campaign on the Sunshine State, trailing in all of them.

The St. Petersburg Times/Bay News 9/Miami Herald survey gave McCain a 25 percent to 23 percent edge over Romney, with Giuliani at 15 percent and Huckabee at 13 percent.

The poll was conducted Sunday through Tuesday and has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.


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