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Starting Lineup: The Final Frontier

Good Wednesday Morning and welcome back to the Starting Lineup. On the radar today: Joe Miller (R) goes to court as Alaska begins counting write-in ballots; Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) makes her case in USA Today as the anti-Pelosi for Minority Leader caucus grows; the Congressional Black Caucus backs James Clyburn (D-S.C.) for Minority Whip, drawing him nearly even with Steny Hoyer (D-Md.); and a GOP Facebook game.

Alaska Hijinks: Lots of developments in the Senate race on the Last Frontier Tuesday night. Most importantly, Republican Joe Miller is gaining ground on Sen. Lisa Murkowski's (R) in early vote and absentee ballots. Alaska counted about 27,000 of those ballots on Tuesday, and the "write-in" lead over Miller narrowed from 13,439 to 11,333.

That comes as Miller has filed a lawsuit questioning the procedure in which write-in ballots are counted. Miller is taking issue with Alaska's guidelines, which state that the officials will use "discretion" in determining voter intent. That means that Murkowski's name may be misspelled as long as the intent of the voter is clear. Miller asked a judge to intervene and make the state throw out ballots where names are misspelled or don't match candidates' official declarations.

Alaska plans to begin reviewing the 92,000 write-in ballots at 9 a.m. local time.
http://usat.ly/aNHbR6
Alaska ballot review rules: http://bit.ly/8YCVOJ

Don't Miss: Our roundup of the races still too close to call: http://bit.ly/cht1uD

Pelosi's Pitch: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took her case to be Minority Leader to the pages of USA Today with an op-ed on Wednesday. Pelosi touts the accomplishments of the 111th Congress in the piece -- including Wall Street reform and health care reform -- then pledges to work with the new Republican majority. "While the election is over, the urgent needs of the American people remain. Over the past several days, I have spoken with my Democratic colleagues about where we go from here. I have heard from Americans across our country who are relying on us to continue our fight to create jobs, hopefully in a bipartisan way, and move our nation forward. We will begin the 112th Congress with talented new colleagues, and also with a renewed dedication to fighting every day for jobs, economic recovery and the middle class." http://usat.ly/b8kMQn

Meanwhile, the caucus of Democrats who are opposing Pelosi for Minority Leader continues to grow. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) sent a letter to colleagues on Monday calling for postponing the leadership elections until December. That would effectively allow another member the time to organize a run against Pelosi. DeFazio, remember, was ambivalent during the campaign about whether he would back Pelosi again despite not facing a very tough challenge.
House Minority Leader Whip Count: http://bit.ly/cpJZGA
Letter: http://bit.ly/clIBeT

CBC Backs Clyburn: Meanwhile in the other Democratic leadership fight, the Congressional Black Caucus formally endorsed James Clyburn (D-S.C.) to be House Minority Leader. The endorsement was expected and if all of the CBC's nearly 40 members follow the endorsement, it means the Clyburn has come close to drawing even with current House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) for the post. By The Hotline's Whip Count, Hoyer currently leads Clyburn 50 to 12, but that doesn't take into account most of the CBC.
http://bit.ly/alNWIm

Who Are You Again? Worried about keeping tabs of the more than 60 new members of the GOP caucus? Fear not, the GOP has come up with a Facebook game of new members.
http://bit.ly/cME5lk

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