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Down the ballot: You are…a radio star

GEORGIA: Obama has cut a new 60-second radio ad for Jim Martin (D), the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes. "In the ad, Obama says Martin 'supports my plan to cut middle-class taxes' and calls the former state lawmaker 'a man of his word.' 'I know he'll do everything he can to help me change Washington and get America moving again,' Obama says."

National Journal's Kirk Victor writes about the pros and cons for Obama to do more than cut a radio ad and actually campaign for Martin. "What Obama must decide, if he hasn't already, is whether trying to help an underdog in a state that he didn't carry himself is worth the political capital it would cost, especially if that candidate ends up losing." More: "The refusal, so far, by the Obama transition team to commit to his appearance says a great deal about the caution -- some would say prudence -- of the president-elect and his advisers. They have spent plenty of time learning from past transitions. They know that 16 years ago another Senate race in Georgia also resulted in a runoff. President-elect Clinton decided to spend political capital to boost a friend, first-term Sen. Wyche Fowler," who ended up losing.

Al Gore campaigns for Martin on Sunday.

MINNESOTA: The Star Tribune reports on Day Two of the recount. "With about 46 percent of the 2.9 million ballots counted by Thursday evening, the gap between Republican incumbent Norm Coleman and DFL challenger Al Franken continued to close. Coleman was leading by only 136 votes, a drop from his unofficial lead of 215 that was confirmed Tuesday by the state Canvassing Board. The figures represent a compilation of recount data reported to the secretary of state and gathered by the Star Tribune." 

The AP says the recount is getting really messy. "A recount watchdog for Norm Coleman flagged a ballot because the voter put a check next to Al Franken's name instead of blacking in the oval. A Franken monitor challenged an apparent vote for Coleman because Franken's name was also marked. And representatives of both men invoked challenges because of marks elsewhere on the ballot that could make them identifiable."

NEW YORK: With Hillary Clinton's appointment back on the "likely going to happen" track, the speculation on who replaces Clinton in the senate will heat up... big time. Here's another clip claiming Rep. Nydia Velasquez is a strong contender.

For what it's worth, everything we've learned from our New York sources indicates it would be a surprise to many if Velasquez got the call.

The New York Post's Fred Dicker reports that Chuck Schumer has strong opinions about whom Gov. David Paterson should appoint. Apparently, one person Schumer doesn't want to see appointed is AG Andrew Cuomo.

But isn't it in Paterson's best interest to appoint Cuomo if he thinks the AG might be a future GOV challenger to him?

OHIO: Per the AP, a federal judge ruled yesterday that provisional ballots must be counted in the extremely close House race between Mary Jo Kilroy (D) and Steve Stivers (R). "The decision by U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley could affect the outcome of the race… Stivers leads Kilroy by 149 votes in the race to succeed retiring Republican Deborah Pryce. An estimated 1,000 ballots are in dispute in that race because of defects such as voters failing to both print and sign their names. Marbley's ruling applies to a total of about 27,000 provisional ballots in Franklin County, which also are holding up the results of two state House races."

The Columbus Dispatch adds, "Within five minutes of the ruling, John W. Zeiger, an attorney for Stivers' campaign, said he had filed an appeal."