November 11, 2008 - As lead grows, so does group of observers in unsettled race // 44th DISTRICT: Rep. Ken Calvert, ahead of Bill Hedrick, sends two lawyers to monitor vote tallying
Paper: Press-Enterprise, The ( Riverside, CA)
Title: As lead grows, so does group of observers in unsettled race // 44th DISTRICT: Rep. Ken Calvert, ahead of Bill Hedrick, sends two lawyers to monitor vote tallying.
Date: November 11, 2008
Author: BEN GOAD AND JULIA GLICK, THE PRESS-ENTERPRISE
Inland Rep. Ken Calvert's lead over challenger Bill Hedrick grew slightly Monday, as election officials unveiled the latest vote count in the still unsettled race for California's 44th Congressional District.
But the new figures were overshadowed by the appearance of a pair of congressional lawyers who were sent from Washington to monitor the count, which could stretch for several more days.
Calvert, R-Corona, requested the attorneys, who were dispatched by the House Administration Committee. The attorneys, one from each political party, arrived at the registrar 's office Monday morning.
Calvert formally declared victory in the race late last week.
Hedrick, the Democratic challenger, has refused to concede, pointing to thousands of uncounted absentee and provisional ballots.
On Monday, Calvert said he's confident he'll come out on top. He said concerns over Riverside County's handling of the election prompted his request for the House monitors. He called the vote-counting process disorderly and slow.
The latest numbers showed Calvert extending his lead by roughly 2,000 votes, putting him about 9,000 votes ahead of Hedrick with an undetermined number of ballots yet to be counted.
"I'm not concerned about this election," Calvert said. "I think it's important that folks take a look at the voting process here."
Riverside County registrar Barbara Dunmore said her office is tallying ballots as quickly as possible without jeopardizing the integrity of the results.
"If we speed up any more, I am concerned that would be compromised," she said.
The two lawyers - one representing the committee's Republican office and the other on behalf of its Democratic office - joined a crew of observers from both campaigns who have held vigil at the registrar of voters ' office in Riverside since the ballot count began last week.
"I'll be here all week unless it becomes clear that we're not needed," said Melissa Mueller, the attorney sent by the House Administration Committee's Democratic office.
She said her role and that of the Republican attorney, Ashley Stow, is just to observe and gather information.
"If this continues to be extremely close, it could be a question for the House of Representatives down the road," Mueller said.
Losing candidates in close races have been known to file complaints alleging miscounting of ballots or other lapses, she said.
Information from congressional attorneys makes such complaints easier to resolve, she said.
Hedrick's campaign director said the longtime Corona-Norco school board member is concentrating on winning the election - not future challenges.
"We're not going to concede until all the ballots are counted," Hedrick campaign manager Ryan Sandoval said. "We're not discouraged at all."
Edition: WEST; ALL ZONES
Record Number: 848061
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