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Looks like it's McIntyre in District 7 race

Updated: Longtime incumbent U.S. Rep. Mike McIntyre appears headed for re-election over challenger state Sen. David Rouzer, as the results of a recount were all but complete Wednesday afternoon.

McIntyre says he's returning to work amid recount

Democratic Congressman Mike McIntyre said Sunday he would return to Washington this week even as a recount looms in his re-election.

McIntyre finished 507 votes ahead of Republican David Rouzer in one of the most expensive congressional races in the nation.

His campaign manager said McIntyre would travel to the nation's capital Tuesday for his congressional duties."His commitment to the citizens and communities he represents is strong and solid," Lachlan McIntosh said in a statement. "We have a large team in place all over the 7th District as county Boards of Elections continue to review the provisional and absentee ballots.  We are confident our lead will continue and potentially grow -- and that our victory will stand.”

Morning Roundup: 5 reasons why Obama lost N.C.; McCrory's new challenge

President Barack Obama almost ran the table Tuesday night when it came to battleground states. The lone exception: North Carolina.

Of a dozen competitive states, it was the only one that went from Democratic blue in 2008 to Republican red this year. Why didn’t Obama carry the Tar Heel State? Read five reasons here and see a map of results here.

More political headlines:

--Pat McCrory on Thursday will set foot in the Capitol for the first time as governor-elect. A block north, he will see a major challenge facing his administration: the N.C. General Assembly. 

--The 7th Congressional campaign and the lieutenant governor's race are headed to overtime. A recount looms.

Coleman refuses to concede race, suggests recount in email asking for money

Democrat Linda Coleman refuses to concede the lieutenant governor's race and sent a cryptic email to supporters just after midnight Wednesday that suggested she is priming for a recount. The subject line: "Urgent, Too Close to Call." 

Republican Dan Forest has claimed victory and the race could fall outside the range for a recount.

Etheridge heads to a recount 1,489 votes down

With all provisional and absentee ballots counted and certified in the state's 2nd Congressional district, incumbent Democratic Rep. Bob Etheridge still trails his Republican challenger Renee Ellmers by 1,489 votes.

But the margin between the candidates is less than the 1 percent threshold required for a candidate to request a recount.

Etheridge was about 1,650 votes behind before Friday's canvass in the districts 10 counties was complete. Historically, recounts in the state have rarely changed the election results, especially when the margin is as wide as that facing Etheridge.

Etheridge issued a statement affirming that he wants the ballots counted again.

“Throughout my career in public service – from the military to serving in Congress– I’ve known there is nothing more important than preserving the sacred right to vote and that is why North Carolina should go forward with the process lawmakers designed to ensure accuracy and integrity when the margin is less than 1 percent,” Etheridge said, according to the statement.

“Unless voters are assured that the results of the election are accurate then they’ll never be sure that the people’s voice was heard or that the result is valid. As more votes were counted over the last week, it became increasingly clear that this race is too close to call and a recount is warranted.”

Johnnie McLean, the deputy director of the State Board of Elections, planning for a recount will start on Monday. There was no immediate estimate of how much the recount will cost.

UPDATED to include Etheridge's statement.

Ellmers gets help from national Republican committee

The National Republican Congressional Committee has come through with $10,000 for Renee Ellmers.

Half will go to her general campaign committee, half to the recount effort, reports Barb Barrett.

Ellmers campaign manager Al Lytton said they welcome the NRCC’s support. “It seems like we’re moving in the right direction,” Lytton said.

The NRCC agreed to make the donation Friday, as reported then on the Rush Limbaugh show and some conservative blogs. Lytton said the organization also said it wants to talk about raising money in the future as well.

That’s a switch from last Wednesday, when the NRCC told Ellmers’ campaign that it wouldn’t contribute financially to her recount effort in the 2nd Congressional District. The refusal sparked a fierce response from Ellmers.

She told supporters in an e-mail that she needed their help to raise $50,000 for a potential recount against incumbent Democrat U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge.

“I am doubtful we will get support from the NRCC to help with the expense of the recount,” Ellmers wrote in her e-mail.

The NRCC’s initial refusal drew the attention of Limbaugh, who talked up Ellmers on his national radio show Thursday, saying the Republicans were “telling Renee Ellmers to go to hell.”

Sarah Palin tweeted about the issue on the same day. “Mama Grizzly Renee Ellmers needs our help securing an honest and fair recount. Please donate here,” Palin tweeted, offering a link to Ellmers’ website.

On Friday, the NRCC made its donations.

“Friday they contacted us and said they would help,” said Carter Wrenn, Ellmers’ political strategist. “They’ve had a change of heart.”

As final results come in from the district’s 11 counties, Ellmers remains about 1,600 votes ahead of Etheridge. If he remains that tight through the current vote-counting, he’ll be entitled to request a recount after the election canvass on Friday.

Ellmers versus national Republican committee

ELLMERS SNUB: Even before it's certain that Renee Ellmers will go to Washington as the new congresswoman from North Carolina's 2nd District, she is showing a vigorous streak of independence from her party's establishment. (N&O)

GRIM PICTURE FOR UNC: UNC system President Erskine Bowles painted a bleak picture Thursday of the UNC system if the more severe of two budget-cutting scenarios is necessary. As many as 1,700 jobs could be lost, he said, and closing a campus is not out of the realm of possibility. (N&O)

ELLMERS LEADS BY 1,646: State officials straightened out a vote counting glitch in Sampson County, but the 2nd District Race appears to be headed for a recount. (N&O)

Admission (sort of) on 'Who are you?' video

National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Jon Thompson didn’t directly address whether the NRCC was behind the "Who are you?" video of Bob Etheridge that went viral this summer.

But he offered a hint, reports Barb Barrett.

“It’s no secret that both parties ask members of Congress their position on a variety of issues that can easily be answered or not answered without resorting to violence,” Thompson said in a statement.

The video, made in June by young men who said they were students working on a project, showed a confrontation between Etheridge and the young men. Etheridge grabbed one of the men and repeatedly asked, "Who are you?" The video went viral and the whole incident helped Etheridge's Republican opponent, Renee Ellmers.

And about the NRCC’s denial of funds to help Ellmers in the recount effort, Thompson said the committee has offered its expertise to all campaigns facing recounts.

“We have advised all candidates facing a possible recount to start a recount fund and to prepare for an extensive legal process,” he wrote. “Our staff and counsel have offered to assist these campaigns in any way possible.”

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