BSSB.BE fivethirtyeight.com 13/11/2018
* The Unresolved Midterm Races and which way they’re leaning. More absentee and provisional ballots eligible to be counted.
We’ve updated the text below with the latest news and data. We’ve also removed the Arizona U.S. Senate race,1California 49th District, Georgia 6th District2 and Washington 8th District,3which have been called for Democrats, and the Minnesota 1st District4 and North Carolina 9th District,5 which have been called for Republicans. Our original write-ups on those races can be found in the footnotes.
Everyone has voted, the results are in and we know who will control the Senate and the House — but several races remain unresolved. (We warned you this might happen.) As of 8:16 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, news outlets have yet to project winners in 17 races: two for the U.S. Senate, 13 for the U.S. House and two for governor.
These races have the potential to meaningfully change the narrative around this election — for example, Democrats could pick up 43 House seats instead of 30, or turn a disappointing showing in the Senate into a draw. Here’s the state of each undecided race — including our best estimate of who might prevail when all is said and done.
After Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner in Arizona on Monday evening, Republicans’ net gain in the Senate dropped down to one seat, but the likely eventual outcome is a Republican net gain of two, according to our forecast.
In Florida, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson initially appeared to have concededon election night (his opponent, Republican Gov. Rick Scott, also claimed victory) but reversed course after continued vote-counting in Broward and Palm Beach counties narrowed Scott’s lead to just 0.15 percentage points, or 12,562 votes. That’s important because, under Florida law, any election within half a percentage point margin triggers a machine recount, and then, after that, if an election is within a quarter of a percentage point, it triggers a manual recount (where ballots are retabulated by hand).
On Saturday, the secretary of state officially ordered the machine recount, which must be completed by Thursday, Nov. 15. However, the real drama will likely come if there’s a hand recount, and whether we learn if the unusually high number of undervotes in the Senate race in Broward County are the result of a machine error. If so, Nelson may have a shot. If not, Scott is probably safe, as recounts rarely overturn election results.
Finally, as we expected, the special U.S. Senate election in Mississippi will proceed to a runoff on Nov. 27 as none of the candidates secured 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday. Appointed Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith will be a heavy favorite against Democratic former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy thanks to the state’s dark red hue.
Of the 13 unresolved House races, Democrats lead or look like they’re in good position in 9 of them. Here’s the full lowdown:
- Five of the races are in California. It’s not unusual for close races in California to still be uncalled even several days after the election. That’s because most people in California vote by mail, and mail ballots only have to be postmarked by Election Day; they can arrive at elections offices as late as three days later and still be counted.
- Currently, the Democratic candidates lead in the California 10th and 48th districts (in fact, the Associated Press has already called the latter). The Republican candidates lead in the California 21st, 39th and 45th. However, late-arriving ballots tend to lean Democratic in California, so those GOP leads will probably shrink, if not reverse entirely. (They have already shown signs of shrinking.) Because of this, we’re guessing that Democrats will win all of these districts except the 21st. Republican Rep. David Valadao leads Democrat T.J. Cox 51 percent to 49 percent in that one, but the Associated Press and ABC have both projected a Valadao win. (We still think there’s a narrow path to a Cox victory.)
- Although some networks have called the Georgia 7th District, Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux has not yet conceded. Republican Rep. Rob Woodall has a lead of less than 1,000 votes with about 1,500 provisional ballotsleft to count in Gwinnett County and 90 in Forsyth County. Over the long weekend, Bourdeaux filed a lawsuit to get 3,200 more absentee and provisional ballots counted and said that she would seek a recount.
- With most of the vote counted in the Maine 2nd District, Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin has declared he received more votes than Democratic state Rep. Jared Golden — but neither received a majority, so Maine’s new system of ranked-choice voting will decide the winner. A computer program will redistribute the votes of the two last-place finishers, independents William Hoar and Tiffany Bond, between Poliquin and Golden based on who was ranked higher on their voters’ ballots. At that point, whoever has a majority of the remaining votes will win the congressional seat. Golden is probably favored in this scenario; both Bond and Hoar indicated in a debate that they would prefer Golden over Poliquin, and exit polls suggest their voters agreed. The counting began on Friday and is expected to take until midweek. But it might not end there: If Poliquin loses the ranked-choice tabulations to Golden, he has left the door open to a court challenge.
- Democrat Andy Kim declared victory in the New Jersey 3rd District on Wednesday night, but Republican Rep. MacArthur has not yet conceded. As of late Friday, Kim led MacArthur by 3,424 votes, with 6,400 provisional ballots outstanding (they’re expected to be counted by Tuesday). Since most of those provisional ballots are from Democratic-leaning Burlington County, MacArthur’s path to victory looks slim.
- The New Mexico 2nd District was supposedly in the bag for Republican state Rep. Yvette Herrell — until Wednesday night, when absentee ballots from Doña Ana County unexpectedly put Democrat Xochitl Torres Small into a 1-percentage-point lead. That was enough for the AP to call the race, although our colleagues at ABC haven’t made a projection yet.
- Like in Georgia, some but not all news outlets have called the New York 22nd for Democratic Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi. However, Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney isn’t ready to concede. A technical error was discovered Thursday that narrowed Brindisi’s margin to just 1,293 votes. And there are still 17,000 absentee and military ballots to be counted.
- In the New York 27th District, Republican Rep. Chris Collins appears to have defeated Democratic Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray. ABC has projected the race, and even McMurray conceded on Tuesday night. However, McMurray has now retracted his concession, arguing that 18,000 uncounted ballots could reverse Collins’s almost-3,000 vote lead.
- It’s been a roller-coaster ride in the Texas 23rd District. Republican Rep. Will Hurd initially declared victory, but then a late spurt of ballots put Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones into the lead. Then an apparent error in the vote tabulations was found, giving Hurd the advantage once more. He currently has a lead of over 1,000 votes, but Ortiz Jones says she will not concede until every vote has been counted.
- Despite what President Trump said at his Wednesday press conference, Republican Rep. Mia Love has not yet lost in the Utah 4th District — although she trails Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams by 2 percentage points. The reason no projection has been made is that it may take up to two weeks to count all the mail ballots in the race. There are about 78,000 votes left to count in Salt Lake County (McAdams’s political base) and 73,000 in Utah County (Love’s base), although not all of them are in the 4th District. The next update will be on Tuesday.
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