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Posted at 4:52 PM ET, 11/19/2010

Afternoon Fix: House GOP's gain is now 61 as Etheridge concedes; Israel is new DCCC chairman; Waters ethics trial in limbo

By Aaron Blake

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* Republicans have now gained 61 seats in this year's election, after Rep. Bob Etheridge (D-N.C.) conceded Friday to Rep.-elect Renee Ellmers (R). Ellmers led by about 1,500 votes after a recount concluded this week. "The combination of the national tide that swept the country, massive amounts of secret corporate cash funding a campaign of distortions, and dirty politics by Washington, D.C., partisan operatives was just too much to overcome," Etheridge said. Five unresolved races remain, with Republicans leading three of them.

* Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) has been named the new chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, beating out Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) for the post. Israel replaces two-term Chairman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

* The ethics trial of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) may or may not happen after all. The House ethics committee on Friday remanded the case back to an investigative subcommittee, citing "materials discovered that may have had an effect" on the initial investigation.

* Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has been named the new chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee while Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), who made overtures about the Agriculture chairmanship, will remain chairman of the Budget Committee. Both are up for reelection in 2012, and the Agriculture chairmanship could have paid dividends for Conrad if he runs for reelection. (Although it didn't do outgoing Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln much good.)

* President Obama says NATO has agreed to a new missile defense system that would cover the United States and all NATO countries in Europe.


* Virginia GOP activists will decide this weekend whether to hold a convention or a primary to nominate their 2012 nominee for Sen. Jim Webb's (D-Va.) seat. Keep an eye out for news about former Sen. George Allen (R-Va.).

* Florida Democrats will hold an informal meeting this weekend in Orlando. Can the party pick up the pieces after getting bludgeoned earlier this month?

* Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller is coming under increasing pressure to concede to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), but he doesn't seem to be backing down at all and is now asking elections officials to delay certifying Murkowski as the winner. How long can he keep it up in the face of apparently insurmountable odds?

* McClatchy has a story today about how Democratic donors are looking to bypass Obama in the 2012 election, citing Obama's lack of aggression when dealing with Republicans. Are they all talk or do they follow through?

* Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a potential 2012 GOP presidential contender, has called for Attorney General Eric Holder to resign in the wake of alleged embassy bomber Ahmed Ghailani being found guilty on just one of 285 counts in civilian court. Do other GOP presidential candidates jump on board?


They call him Nutter, smooth like butter.

The post initially said Republicans had gained a net of 62 seats. In fact, Etheridge's race had already been called by AP, so GOP gains remain at 61.

With Chris Cillizza and Felicia Sonmez

By Aaron Blake  | November 19, 2010; 4:52 PM ET
Categories:  Afternoon Fix  
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