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'McDeadlock' may linger

Tom McClintock holding slim lead over Charlie Brown
By: Gus Thomson/Gold Country News Service
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Tom McClintock and Charlie Brown were playing a waiting game Wednesday with a final count about three weeks off in their too-close-to-call-continuum of Election Day. Both candidates woke up Wednesday morning in a virtual dead heat, splitting the vote 50-50. With 15,000 absentee and 3,000 to 4,000 provisional ballots still to be counted in Placer County and an estimated 40,000 yet to be tallied around the 4th District, the congressional election opponents are in a victory holding pattern. With ballots from the sprawling Northern California district’s nine counties counted on election night, McClintock holds a slim lead over his Democratic Party opponent – 155,771 votes to 155,320 votes. Placer County elections chief Jim McCauley said that state regulations allow 28 days for counties to conduct a canvass of votes and provide a final count to the Secretary of State. The Placer County count normally takes about three weeks to complete, he said. That would leave the two opponents waiting until about Nov. 25 – two days before Thanksgiving Day. If a recount is requested, it would be made county-by-county, with the person requesting a second count paying for the work. A five-day window is open for a recount request, once the county’s final vote count is completed. If there’s a reversal in an election, the county will pick up the costs. McClintock said Wednesday he was gratified his campaign emerged election night with the lead and expressed confidence that he will win once all ballots are counted. “I have full confidence in the hard-working and dedicated election officials who are counting the remaining absentee and provisional ballots,” McClintock said. Brown said his campaign’s priority in a still-undecided election would be to support a fair and accurate count of every ballot. He also had advance praise for elections divisions throughout the district. Besides, Placer, the counties now hunkering down on the provisional and late-mailed ballots are Nevada, El Dorado, Butte, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Sacramento and Sierra. “I want to thank the election department staffs and directors of all of the counties who are working so hard and so well to assure an accurate count,” Brown said. Brown, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, came close two years ago to beating veteran Rep. John Doolittle, R-Roseville. This time around, his opponent is a veteran state legislator and resident of Elk Grove, who represents Ventura County. “While I remain very confident that we will prevail once all the ballots are counted, I know that this team has already won important battles for veterans, for families facing tough economic times and for so many other important priorities,” Brown said.