CHICAGO

Joe Walsh Gets GOP Lawyers To Challenge Melissa Bean Ballots

11/11/2010 11:43 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

With the race for Illinois's Eighth Congressional District still undecided, the state's Republican Party is sending in the cavalry for its candidate, Joe Walsh.

Walsh, who has claimed victory with a 347-vote lead over Democratic incumbent Melissa Bean, will have the aid of four more seasoned elections lawyers thanks to the generosity of the Illinois GOP, as NBC Chicago reports today.

The lawyers enter the fray as the last of the absentee and provisional ballots in the district are rounded up and counted. They will join the half-dozen attorneys already retained by the Walsh campaign, a team led by former Illinois Attorney General Tyrone Fahner, now with the downtown firm Mayer Brown.

NBC Chicago spoke with Walsh's campaign manager, Nick Provenzano, about the incoming troops:

"I'm preparing my client, Mr. Walsh, for any possible outcome," Provenzano said. "I'm not going to go into a gun fight with a knife."

Provenzano says he's concerned about the integrity of uncounted absentee ballots, which must be counted by November 16, in order to be part of the final tally.

Bean was widely viewed as the favorite in the race, so much so that when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee doled out its last round of cash, it passed Bean over, expecting her to do fine on her own. Few lists of endangered incumbents before the election had mentioned her name.

But alas, few Democrats in moderate districts were safe this cycle. Walsh, a Tea Party-aligned candidate, ran neck-and-neck with Bean, and pundits now suggest that the Democrat will need a miracle in the absentee ballots to pull off a win. Only 500 ballots are outstanding in Cook County, which Bean won, most of which are likely to be too late or never to come back at all. There are over 600 such ballots out in Lake County, which Walsh won by three points.

As Walsh and his now-bolstered team of lawyers scrutinize every incoming and outstanding ballot, they are intent on making sure that miracle doesn't happen.

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