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Romney Staff Stays Behind For Recount Fights

Advance staffers on the ground, while lawyers pack their bags.

Brian Snyder / Reuters

Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign is laying the groundwork for legal fights beginning the Wednesday morning after the presidential election.

With many states polling within the margin of error, the Romney campaign is keeping its advance staffers — the young aides who plan and orchestrate the candidate’s events across the country — in the swing states in case of a recount, a campaign staffer in Boston aide confirmed. An Obama spokesperson did not respond when asked if their campaign is taking similar steps.

Advance staffers would handle the public relations side of fights that are decided, as the Bush campaign proved in 2000, as much in the court of public opinion as in the courts of law, and in which early public statements may have crucial effects on the outcomes. They would also organize events featuring Romney aides or even the candidate himself if the situation called for it.

Additionally both campaigns have mobilized an army of lawyers ready to descend on any disputed state. Indeed many have already been deployed to the field.

“Pretty much everyone with a law degree has been told to pack a bag,” said a Romney aide.

Beyond the possibility of a recount, the campaigns expect somewhere on the order of 200,000 provisional ballots to be cast in Ohio by voters who requested absentee ballots but didn’t return them. These ballots can’t be opened until 10 days after Election Day, potentially leaving the outcome uncertain for some time.

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