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Jennings vs. Buchanan, 2006: It's over, for real

The House just dismissed Democrat Christine Jennings' contest of the November 2006 election. No big surprise there, a House task force weeks ago recommended dismissing the contest after congressional investigators didn't find that voting machines in Sarasota County malfunctioned and contributed to some 18,000 missing ballots.

Jennings, who lost the race to Republican Vern Buchanan by fewer than 400 votes, had charged that faulty voting machines caused more than 18,000 ballots to go missing. She appealed to the state courts and to the House of Representatives, which swore Buchanan into office in January 2007 - but only after noting that his election was being contested.

The 2006 race was one of the most expensive in the country - and the investigation was likely one of the more costly, as it involved investigators from the Government Accountability Office spending time in Sarasota examining the machines and the studies performed by the state - which all cleared the machines.

Though Congress is now out of the picture, the contest is by no means over: Jennings has filed to challenge Buchanan. But she may have an uphill battle: Buchanan had raised $1.9 million for his re-election as of Dec. 31 and CQ Politics says he's "currently favored to win in this Republican-leaning Gulf Coast district."

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