Politics & Government

Candidates turn to lawyers as Calif. race remains close

With their race too close to call and no winner expected any time soon, Republican Tom McClintock and Democrat Charlie Brown are hiring lawyers and rounding up observers to monitor the vote counting in the 4th Congressional District.

The efforts by both sides underscore high tensions and vigilance as election officials in nine counties sift through tens of thousands of uncounted absentee and provisional ballots.

As of Sunday night, McClintock had an 889-vote lead over Brown. With McClintock leading Brown by less than one-half of 1 percent, the close race also has triggered a mandatory state recount of 10 percent of voter precincts.

McClintock has deployed a legal team headed by Ben Davidian, a prominent Republican attorney and former head of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, and is deploying observers in county offices where votes are being tallied.

"We are scrambling to keep a legal presence in all the counties that are counting ballots, and the estimated cost is going to run over $100,000," McClintock said in an e-mail message asking for donations over the weekend.

Emphasizing that his lead is widening, he said the race nevertheless isn't over. "In short, this is still too close to call, but I'd rather be me than the other guy."

Brown's campaign has brought in the Sacramento office of the renowned DLA Piper law firm. And it sent out a letter, "Fighting for Every Vote for Charlie Brown," seeking contributions.

Read the full story at sacbee.com.