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Cliffhanger in a Sea of Blue: Charlie Brown (D) Refuses to Give up in California's 4th Congressional District

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Cliff Hanger in a Sea of Blue


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California's 4th Congressional District, Republican since 1992, combines
vast regions, sparsely populated, and growing suburbs and exurbs.

Charlie Brown (D) Refuses to Give up in California's
4th Congressional District

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Michael Collins
"Scoop" Independent News

California turned blue with a vengeance in the 2008 presidential election.  President-elect Obama's 61% majority plus a 78% turnout rate statewide were enough to strip the Republicans of all but one county with a significant population.

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The "blue tsunami" started in San Diego County at the southern tip of the state and flowed up the Pacific coastal counties through Mendocino.  The only county with a major population that remained loyal to the Republicans was Orange County, the former center of right wing politics in the Golden State, and that was by a mere 2.6% McCain margin.

Yet, the 4th Congressional District is still counting votes with a too-close-to-call election.  John T.  Doolittle (R) retired this year after holding the seat since 1992.  Democrat Charlie Brown took a second run for the seat, having lost to Doolittle in 2006 by just 3 points.  In 2008, Brown received nationwide support from high profile veterans and veteran's groups and was well funded from a variety of sources.

His opponent, Tom McClintock (R), hoped to maintain Republican dominance.  McClintock was considered one of the most conservative members of the California legislature.  His main issue in the campaign was fencing the border to keep out illegal workers.

On election night McClintock had less than a 1,000 vote lead with thousands of  uncounted ballots.  Rather than surrender, Brown issued the following statement on Nov. 5:

"We understand that there are still more than 40,000 ballots remaining to be processed, and we will not know the outcome of this election until all of those votes are counted.

"Our priority today is to support a fair and accurate count of every ballot."

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Throughout the process since election night when the votes were announced, Brown and his campaign have maintained calm.  Brown refused to concede as is the common practice.  Given the absence of 40,000 votes from the final count, this was a sensible position.  By keeping the campaign open, he's assured a witnessed count of those votes.

On Nov. 14, this statement appeared on his campaign website:

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