Results Still Shifting in Undecided House Races
Eight House races remain undecided more than a week after the elections, and at least one is already headed for a recount. More could be on the way, including in North Carolina, where the Associated Press called the race for Rep. Bob Etheridge’s Republican opponent.
Here is a rundown on where each race stands, ordered those likely to be resolved the quickest to those expected to take the longest:
Kentucky’s 6th district
In the Lexington-based 6th district, the latest totals show Democratic Rep. Ben Chandler ahead by fewer than 650 votes.
Republican Andy Barr has already requested a recanvass, which will be complete by the end of the week. At that point Barr can then ask for an official recount, which he would have to pay for. Barr’s camp has not ruled out taking that route.
California’s 11th and 20th districts
In California, the latest vote count tallies continue to move in favor of Democratic Reps. Jerry McNerney and Jim Costa, who both looked in danger of losing on election night.
McNerney had led Republican David Harmer by just 121 votes, the smallest margin in the country. But McNerney’s lead had grown to 2,269 votes as of Tuesday night.
“It’s clear that the momentum is in McNerney’s favor and continues to grow,” McNerney campaign manager Doug Greven said in a statement.
The 11th district consists of Alameda, Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Joaquin counties.
In Costa’s 20th district, the margin is just 145 votes, with Republican Andy Vidak’s lead steadily declining since the election.
Costa currently leads in two of the district’s three counties, Kern and Fresno, while Vidak holds a wide lead in Kings County, which is the only one to have completed its vote counting.
Fresno, which still had some 80,000 votes to count as of Tuesday, will release an updated vote count Wednesday at 6 p.m. Eastern time. Not all of those ballots were cast within the 20th district, but the new tally could bump Costa into the lead for the first time.
There is no automatic recount in California, unlike many other states. Candidates must request and pay for a recounting of the votes.
North Carolina’s 2nd district
Republican Renee Ellmers led Rep. Bob Etheridge (D) by fewer than 1,700 votes after initial counts were tabulated. Official canvassing results are due to be reported on Friday, but as long as the race is within 1 percent (about 1,900 votes) Etheridge can ask for a recount and his camp has indicated it will.
Both sides have been preparing for a recount by tapping their supporters for cash to support that effort. In an appeal to supporters earlier this week, Etheridge warned that Ellmers was receiving help from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) in an effort to “bulldoze” the Democratic process in the district.
After initially criticizing the National Republican Congressional Committee last week for not helping her prepare for the expected recount, Ellmers and national party officials seem to now be on the same page. The NRCC moved $10,000 to Ellmers this week, including $5,000 to her recount fund. NRCC officials have also offered assistance on the legal front.
Illinois’ 8th district
Rep. Melissa Bean (D) trailed Republican Joe Walsh by 347 votes as of Tuesday.
Absentee ballots in the suburban Chicago district have to be postmarked by Nov. 1 and be received by Nov. 16. The 8th district’s three county clerks then have a few days to report their results to the state board, which must declare its results by Dec. 3. The losing candidate has until Dec. 8 to ask for a recount in up to a quarter of the precincts in each of the three counties.
Walsh will be on hand next week for GOP freshman orientation.
Texas’ 27th district
Rep. Solomon Ortiz (D) officially filed paperwork requesting a manual recount in each of his district’s six counties this week. He is fewer than 800 votes behind Republican Blake Farenthold, a former radio talk show host.
Farenthold, meanwhile, has declared victory and is planning to come to Washington, D.C., next week for freshman orientation. His campaign has started raising funds for the recount, according to its website.
“Let there be no mistake — we won this election and will not let Solomon Ortiz steal it from the people of South Texas,” the website reads. “Our opponent expects us to lie down and let him roll over us with his massive Democratic machine.”
In a statement on Friday, Ortiz said voting irregularities — including ballots found in Nueces County, a polling site that opened late on Election Day, and an early voting site that lost electrical power — warranted his request for a recount.
New York 25th district
Republican challenger Ann Marie Buerkle led freshman Rep. Dan Maffei (D) by 687 votes as of Wednesday morning, a number that may change in the coming weeks amid a massive vote counting operation.
A judge ruled Monday that the campaigns could access roughly 11,000 applications for absentee ballots to match voter signatures on file. That process is expected to take several days. But it’s just the beginning of a lengthy process.
The campaigns will bring signature objections to election commissioners on Nov. 16. And that same day, a hearing is set before the state Supreme Court to help decide a recount procedure for the remaining ballots.
It’s worth noting that the final overseas ballots aren’t due until Nov. 23.
Maffei’s campaign is pushing the state’s highest court to force election workers to examine each of the paper ballots by hand, a process that could stretch into December.
New York’s 1st district
While initially thought to lead by nearly 3,500 votes, Rep. Tim Bishop now trails his Republican challenger by 383 votes and is pushing for a hand count of all ballots.
The swing is attributed to human error, and was discovered when the voting machine results were downloaded Friday and compared to the initial tallies phoned in by poll inspectors the night of the election.
Tuesday afternoon, attorneys for Bishop and Republican Randy Altschuler met privately with a Suffolk County Supreme Court judge to argue the merits of a full recount. It’s not immediately clear how soon the ruling might come.
A full hand recount would likely delay the resolution of this contest past Thanksgiving.