Politics

New Members of Congress Hit the Books in DC

By Katherine Tully-McManus
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A week after the midterm elections, officials have yet to determine the winners in one Senate contest and 10 House races.

If the 2000 presidential race is an indication, we could be waiting weeks for the outcome of the Florida Senate race as state election personnel recount votes for Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, who trailed in the initial tally by less than 15,000 votes to his challenger, GOP Gov. Rick Scott.

House Democrats have already passed the threshold for a majority that they haven’t held since 2010. They currently have 227 seats called in their favor with the potential for those 10 not yet called races. But they’ll likely land more around 231 seats — still good for a 27-seat majority.

In the Senate, the GOP flipped seats in Indiana, North Dakota and Missouri — states that President Donald Trump won by double digits in 2016. But Democrats picked up seats in Nevada and Arizona.

Here are the races yet to be called as of Tuesday morning that will determine the size of the Republicans’ majority in the Senate and the Democrats’ in the House:

The race for the Senate seat in Florida has turned into a nasty battle of accusations as officials begun a machine recount over the weekend.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott declared victory over three-term Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson late last Tuesday, but nearly a week later the race remains uncalled by The Associated Press. Scott’s margin narrowed since election night as votes from Democratic-leaning Broward County continued to trickle in and absentee and provisional ballots remained uncounted.

A judge tossed out a lawsuit from Scott and the National Republican Senatorial Committee against Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes for failing to turn over information about ballots that have been counted. There has been no evidence of voter fraud in Broward, the judge ruled. Scott has also called for a Florida Department of Law Enforcement Investigation into Broward’s handling of ballots.

President Donald Trump, without citing any evidence, has also accused Broward County officials of voter fraud.

Democratic groups have sued Scott to try to prevent him from being involved as governor in the recount process, which will go to a manual recount if the machine recount yields a margin between the candidates of less than 0.25 percent.

The Mississippi special election for the final two years of former GOP Sen. Thad Cochran’s term is heading to a Nov. 27 runoff after no candidate cleared 50 percent Tuesday night.

Just 1 point separated appointed GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and former Democratic Agriculture Secretary Mike Espy, with Hyde-Smith ahead 41 percent to 40 percent. Republican state Sen. Chris McDaniel took 16 percent of the vote.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a 15-term incumbent from California's 48th District, is out after the AP projected his Democratic challenger, Harley Rouda, will win.

Democrat Josh Harder overtook Rep. Jeff Denham in California’s 10th District over the weekend as officials continue to count mail-in ballots, though the race remains uncalled.

In the 45th District, Rep. Mimi Walters is clinging by a lead just north of 1,000 votes after she had a 6,000-vote cushion on Election Night.

In Georgia’s 7th District, Rep. Rob Woodall leads by less than half a point over Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux in the Atlanta suburbs.

Utah Rep. Mia Love, who spoke at the 2016 Republican National Convention and is the only African-American Republican woman in the House, trails by less than 3 percentage points to Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams with 79 percent of precincts reporting in the 4th District.

With just absentee and provisional ballots left to count, Democratic challenger Anthony Brindisi leads Rep. Claudia Tenney by about half a percentage point in New York’s 22nd District. Tenney ran one of the most pro-Trump campaigns of any vulnerable Republican this cycle.

Democratic challenger and former Obama administration official Andy Kim holds a lead of a little more than a percentage point over Rep. Tom MacArthur with all paper ballots still being counted in New Jersey’s 3rd District.

Republican incumbents in Maine’s 2nd District (Bruce Poliquin), New York’s 27th (Chris Collins) and Texas’ 23rd (Will Hurd) hold narrow edges in their respective races, but those contests remained uncalled Tuesday. With none of the candidates taking more than 50 percent in Maine, the race will be decided by the state’s new ranked-choice voting system for the first time.

One open seat held by the GOP remains uncalled. Republican Young Kim holds a narrow lead over Democrat Gil Cisneros for the seat vacated by retiring Rep. Ed Royce in California’s 39th District. Her lead has shrunk from 4,000 votes on Election Night to less than 2,000 by Tuesday with more mail-in ballots left to count.

Watch: Bill Nelson Makes a Statement on Florida’s Senate Race Recount

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Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has made history by becoming the first woman elected to represent Arizona in the Senate. She defeated Republican Rep. Martha McSally after several days of ballot counting.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Sinema led McSally 50 percent to 48 percent when The Associated Press called the race six days after Election Day.

Sinema’s victory also marks the first time in 30 years that a Democrat has won a Senate seat in Arizona.

The race’s results were unknown for several days due to roughly 500,000 votes, mostly from Maricopa County, that still had to be counted after Election Day.

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Regan explained in a statement that vote tabulation can take days due to security measures and the high volume of early vote ballots dropped off at polling places on Election Day. Officials must verify someone who turned in an early ballot on Election Day did not also mistakenly vote in person at the polling place.

Sinema’s historic win could appear surprising in a state where women had early success running for statewide office. But long-serving male senators kept Senate seats elusive, until the two women faced off this year to replace retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake.

Although President Donald Trump won Arizona by just 4 points in 2016, the Grand Canyon State still leans right. That’s why Sinema, who once described herself as the most liberal member of the state Legislature, moved to the middle after she was elected to the House in 2012 and stressed her moderate voting record in her Senate campaign. She also made health care a central part of her race against McSally, and tried to appeal to Republicans aligned with the late GOP Sen. John McCain, who passed away in August.

It was a delicate balancing act for Sinema — attracting GOP and unaffiliated voters, who make up a third of the state’s registered voters, while simultaneously energizing Democratic base voters. She also needed a high turnout among the state’s Latino voters. But the strategy appears to have paid off.

McSally, on the other hand, nationalized the race after winning a three-way GOP primary in late August. The two-term congresswoman aligned herself with Trump despite past criticism of his remarks about women, and the president traveled to the state in October to campaign with her. McSally, the first female pilot to fly in combat, billed herself as a firewall against Democratic control of the Senate.

Sinema’s victory could partly be attributed to her appeal to swing voters, particularly GOP and independent women, as she largely had the airwaves to herself while Republicans fought each other in the primary.

Arizonans don’t have long before they have to vote in another Senate election. Former GOP Sen. Jon Kyl, who was appointed to McCain’s seat after his death, hasn’t committed to serving until a 2020 special election can be held for the remaining two years of McCain’s term. But some potential contenders are already weighing their options.

‘Pretty Stoked to be Voting’— Voters Around the Beltway Share Their Election-Day Thoughts

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