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Djou’s Time on the Hill Proves to Be Short-Lived

As of Wednesday, Republicans had picked up two House seats in Nevada and Washington, while Democrats picked up one House seat in Hawaii. Three House races remain too close to call, while the fates of Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have yet to be determined.

The results of Murkowski’s write-in on the ballot remain to be seen. With nearly all precincts reporting, 41 percent of the votes are for write-ins, 34 percent are for tea party favorite Joe Miller (R) and 24 percent are for Scott McAdams (D), the Associated Press reported. Alaska officials said they won’t start tallying the write-in ballots until Nov. 18. More than 100 write-in candidates are registered for the seat, so it’s possible that Murkowski may not have the lead. Officials plan to go through each ballot to determine voter intent.

In Washington, Murray holds a small lead over Republican Dino Rossi. But because of the state’s mail-in balloting system, it could take weeks to finish counting the votes.

In the House, Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) easily won re-election with 68 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, in California, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D) beat former Hewlett-Packard executive Carly Fiorina (R) in a much-anticipated matchup that ultimately lacked real drama. For much of the year, Boxer polled below 50 percent, but on Election Day she drew 52 percent of the votes to Fiorina’s 43 percent, so Boxer will return to the Senate for a fourth term.

In the House, Rep. Dan Lungren (R) retained his seat with nearly 49 percent of the vote, fending off Ami Bera (D) to represent the 3rd district.

California state Sen. Jeff Denham (R) defeated Democrat Loraine Goodwin for the 19th district seat of Rep. George Radanovich (R), who is retiring. Denham’s victory will keep the seat for the GOP. On the flipside, Karen Bass’s win in the 33rd district kept the seat of retiring Rep. Diane Watson blue.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi easily won re-election in the 8th district in San Francisco, but the California Democrat has not announced what her plans are now that the Republicans are taking control of the House. Democratic insiders have speculated for weeks that Pelosi might not stay in Congress as a vanquished leader.

Two House races in California have yet to be called: In the 11th District, Rep. Jerry McNerney (D) faced off with attorney David Harmer (R). Midday Wednesday, the votes were counted but neither candidate was declared a winner. McNerney leads, but a recount is expected before a result can be certified.

Democratic Rep. Jim Costa and Republican Andy Vidak are locked in a close race that shows each having about 50 percent of the vote, according to news reports. Officials said many ballots remain to be counted.

Hawaii’s Sen. Daniel Inouye (D) won re-election, beating Cam Cavasso, a former state Representative. Inouye will serve his ninth term in the next session. Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) also won re-election, but Rep. Charles Djou (R) lost to Democrat Colleen Hanabusa. Hanabusa picks up a rare seat for her party in this election cycle, but it was not unexpected. Djou sneaked into the seat in a special election earlier this year when a crush of Democratic contenders split the vote in this traditionally Democratic district long held by Neil Abercrombie, who resigned to run for governor. Hanabusa won with 53 percent of the vote.

In one of the most closely watched races of the year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid triumphed over tea party favorite Sharron Angle (R) in Nevada. Reid won with 50 percent of the vote to Angle’s 45 percent. Reid will serve his fifth term in the Senate, but he will have a much smaller majority and a GOP-led House to deal with in the coming session.

Rep. Dina Titus (D) was enveloped in the GOP wave that spread across the country, losing to Joe Heck (R) in Nevada’s 3rd district. Titus lost by less than 2,000 votes.

In Oregon, Sen. Ron Wyden quietly won a third term in office, defeating law school professor Jim Huffman (R) in one of the few statewide races where Republicans never made a serious attempt to unseat the incumbent. Wyden won with 56 percent of the vote to Huffman’s 40 percent.

Each of Oregon’s incumbents in the House won re-election, keeping the count at four Democrats and one Republican from the Beaver State.

On the House side, Jaime Herrera became the first Republican to represent Washington’s 3rd district in more than a decade. Herrera will replace Rep. Brian Baird (D), who is retiring this year. Despite a close race that was hard to call early on, Rep. Adam Smith (D) will return to Congress to represent Washington’s 9th district.

The House race in the 2nd district has yet to be called. Rep. Rick Larsen (D) was trailing behind challenger John Koster. According to news reports, Koster was leading Larsen by more than 1,400 votes. It may be several days before a winner is declared.

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