DAYBREAK DAILY: Recount begins today in Virginia AG election

ABC7 WEATHER: Partly sunny with highs in the mid 30s. { }

‘GOOD MORNING WASHINGTON’: Among the reports – An emergency public hearing will be held regarding allegations of sexual assaults at Wilson Aquatic Center; Recount begins in Va. AG race; much more, beginning at 4:30 a.m. M-F.

LET THE COUNTING BEGIN: Under watchful eyes, per the Richmond Times-Dispatch, “Democrat Mark R. Herring’s 165-vote victory in the attorney general race is headed to a recount this week. A total of 133 localities will retabulate 2.2 million ballots, with Fairfax County and the cities of Alexandria and Chesapeake set to start at 7 a.m. today. All other localities will begin counting ballots Tuesday.

“A three-judge special court in Richmond is expected to determine by Friday whether Herring maintains a lead over Republican Mark D. Obenshain in the closest statewide race in modern Virginia history. Another recount will take place Thursday and Friday in a House of Delegates race in Fairfax County. Democrat Jennifer Boysko trails Del. Thomas Davis Rust, R-Fairfax, by 54 votes out of about 21,000 cast.”

THE FIX IS IN: At least that’s what the man says, per the Baltimore Sun, “The state has resolved the nine "major issues" preventing its glitch-ridden health exchange from working, officials said Saturday, a milestone Gov. Martin O'Malley has framed as key to boosting the low enrollment in insurance plans offered under the Affordable Care Act.

“While officials cautioned that more repairs are necessary beyond those nine problems, O'Malley said through a spokeswoman that the site "is now functional for most citizens." Praised as a national model during its development, the $107 million online marketplace has been troubled by screen freezes and crashes in the two months since its launch. The Saturday announcement comes at a critical time for O'Malley, who has been facing increasing criticism over the rollout of Obamacare in Maryland — recently from some in his own party. And though the site has been declared functional, it remains to be seen whether users will feel the same way.”

10th AND I: Back on the grid, per the Washington Post, “For 34 years, 10th and I streets NW has been an imaginary place, a point of hallowed political ground under the carpeting — and then rubble — of the old Washington Convention Center. Six blocks from the White House, it’s the spot where then-candidate Bill Clinton secured the endorsement of the nation’s largest teachers unions on his way to the presidency. It’s where 19,000 swayed to an African protest dance and listened to Nelson Mandela a few months after he was released from prison. And it’s where Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan proclaimed then-D.C. Mayor Marion Barry a “repentant soul” worthy of reelection despite an ongoing trial for possession of crack cocaine.

“It has also been a roadblock in the city’s grid — a place that drivers had to steer around. Last week, for the first time since the old convention center imploded in a cloud of dust nine years ago — and, for that matter, since Ronald Reagan was a new president — 10th and I returned to the grid. With the construction of CityCenterDC, the spot has been rebuilt to form an intersection.”

VIRGINIA EDUCATION REFORM: Murky, at best, per the Virginian-Pilot, “The fate of a new statewide entity with the task of fixing underperforming schools is up in the air thanks to a slate of new elected state officials and a lawsuit working its way through the courts. A nine-member board has been appointed. An executive director earning $125,000 a year is in place. Still, few people - including those appointed to guide the system - seem to know much about its next steps.

“Earlier this year, at the urging of Gov. Bob McDonnell, the General Assembly established the Opportunity Educational Institution and empowered it, starting next school year, to take over schools denied state accreditation, which is largely determined by pass rates on state tests. . . The law has generated ire among school officials across the state, who say its powers are unconstitutional.”

IDLE TIME: By design, per the New York Times, “The Senate’s final week in session this year promises to be memorable not for legislative business like the pending budget and defense bills but for something far less inspired: the vast amount of time it spends doing nothing in particular.

“As is typical on Mondays, senators will have their first vote at 5:30 p.m. From there, the rest of the week, during which the Senate will take up the pending bills and a group of presidential nominations, seems certain to be bogged down with the kind of hurry-up-and-wait limbo that has consumed most working weeks in the Senate this year.”

BUM DEAL: Reading between the lines, per The Hill, “The two-year budget deal approved by the House has hidden political benefits for Senate Democrats, Republicans charge. Because it sets a top-line budget number for 2015, Democrats won’t have to write and pass a budget resolution in the midterm election year.

“That means vulnerable Democrats like Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Kay Hagen (N.C.) and Mary Landrieu (La.) won’t have to take tough votes as part of a budget vote-o-rama. Republicans are unhappy, as they believe the tough votes would have made it easier to defeat those candidates next fall and take control off the Senate in 2015. With ObamaCare's difficult rollout, forcing members to vote on many aspects of the healthcare law would be especially appealing.”

POLITICO PLAY: “The bipartisan budget agreement is "brilliant politics" that will allow Republicans to keep the heat on Obamacare and avoid the terrible optics of more government shutdowns, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday.

“Gingrich said Republicans can now unwrap the "gigantic Christmas gift" of Obamacare's bungled implementation -- something the party failed to do in October when a focus on defunding Obamacare led to the first government shutdown in 17 years and a corresponding GOP nosedive in the polls.”

HIT AND RUN: Of a different sort, per WJLA—ABC7, “A Northwest Washington man believed that he may have been the latest victim of the so-called "Knockout Game" after he was brutally assaulted late Friday night. The Bloomingdale man, who did not want to be identified, says he was walking home Friday night near the corner of First and W streets Northwest when a group of at least 10 people attacked him.

“As he walked by the group, they initially let him pass without incident, he says. However, just a moment later, they pounded. The victim says the attackers were as callous as they were random. "I feel violated walking down the street and expecting someone to come after me or attack me," he said. "After the punch, I remember chuckling."

NEW DUTIES: Or something like that, per City Paper, “Among the crop of mayoral candidates, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans has shied away from criticizing Vincent Gray and even taken boos along with the incumbent at last week's education debate. Now here's something else Gray and Evans are in sync on—officiating a gay wedding.

“While Gray officiated a wedding last month in the Wilson Building's mayoral suite, Evans held his first gay wedding Saturday in the Logan Circle home of grooms John Lazar and Ted Jarvis.”

PEEP, PEEP: No fryers allowed, per the Frederick News-Post, “Four years ago, Karen Zimmerman was asked to lead a committee that would bring the farm experience to city dwellers and people unfamiliar with farm life, and the Frederick County Farm Bureau’s Schoolhouse Chicks program began.

“Last year, volunteers with the program visited 92 local classrooms in 17 schools to teach students about the miracle of birth. Each class gets three visits involving a live chicken, talking about chickens, setting up an incubator and other brooder supplies in the classroom with eggs, looking through the eggs with a flashlight a week later, and seeing the chicks hatched. The chicks are taken back to the farm.”

GOING SOLAR: Food for thought, per DCist, “Have you ever wondered what the solar potential of your home is? Or where you work? Or the White House maybe? A new interactive map commissioned by the District Department of the Environment and created by Mapdwell allows users to click on almost any building in the city and see "how much electricity can be produced on their rooftops from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, how the financial investment will pay off, and how much pollution will be reduced." You can also see where solar systems are already installed and what the yearly financial benefit is.

“The data used to create the map comes from the Army's Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar) system, aerial imagery from the D.C. Geographic Information System and building footprints from EarthData International, Inc. Mapdwell is "a collaborative effort by researchers, academics, and professionals at MIT."

SPORTS, BRIEFLY: Redskins lose 27-26 at Atlanta; Caps beat Philadelphia 5-4.

TRENDING ON ABC7 FACEBOOK: “A Washington woman likely didn't know that she was trying to rob a D.C. police officer Sunday morning, and it was the suspect who ended up being shot herself. Ashley McCrae remains hospitalized and faces attempted armed robbery charges after being shot by the MPD officer after holding him at gunpoint, police say.

NEWSTALK: Among today’s topics (10 a.m., NewsChannel 8) -- As Americans prepare for the busy holiday travel season, an interview with United Airlines CEO Jeff Smisek. Also, a chat with noted political pundit Bill Press.

--Skip Wood