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We’re Tracking The Unresolved Midterm Races

UPDATE (Nov. 21, 8:21 p.m., 2018): With so few races outstanding, this will be our last update to this article (although we will continue to update our real-time seat forecast). Come back after Thanksgiving for fresh articles about the still-developing Mississippi U.S. Senate runoff and California 21st District. Over the last two weeks, we’ve removed 20 elections from the text below as their winners have gradually been projected: the Arizona U.S. Senate race,1 California 10th District, California 39th District,2 California 45th District, California 48th District, California 49th District, Georgia 6th District,3 Maine 2nd District,4 New Jersey 3rd District,5 New Mexico 2nd District,6 New York 22nd District7 and Washington 8th District,8 which have been called for Democrats; and the Florida U.S. Senate race,9 Georgia 7th District,10 Minnesota 1st District,11 New York 27th District,12 North Carolina 9th District,13 Texas 23rd District,14 Florida governor15 and Georgia governor,16 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 8:21 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21, news outlets have yet to project winners in three races: one for the U.S. Senate and two for the U.S. House. Here’s the state of each undecided race — including our best estimate of who might prevail when all is said and done.

Senate

After a recount in Florida’s U.S. Senate race confirmed GOP Gov. Rick Scott’s victory, Republicans’ net gain in the Senate stood at two, where it is likely to remain. The only Senate election left to be decided is the special election in Mississippi, which is proceeding to a runoff on Nov. 27 after none of the candidates secured 50 percent of the vote on Nov. 6. Appointed Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is the favorite against Democratic former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Espy thanks to the state’s dark red hue.

House

Both of the remaining unresolved House races appear to favor Democrats, though one by significantly more than the other. Here’s the full lowdown:

  • In California, it’s not unusual for close races 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. For that reason, we think the California 21st District is far from over, even though the Associated Press and ABC have both already projected a Republican win there. GOP Rep. David Valadao has less than a 1-point lead, but the votes that have been released in recent days have favored Democrat T.J. Cox, and the counties that have yet to report the most votes appear to lean Democratic as well.
  • In the two weeks following Election Day in the Utah 4th District, Republican Rep. Mia Love and Democratic Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams took turns in first place as more mail-in votes were alternately reported in Utah County (Love’s political base) and Salt Lake County (McAdams’s base). At last, on Nov. 20, both counties certified their results, and McAdams ended up on top by 694 votes, or 0.26 percentage points. A 0.25-point margin would have triggered a recount. The AP has called the race, but Love has technically not yet conceded.

We’ll update this post on a semi-regular basis with the latest news and numbers from these races.

CORRECTION (Nov. 9, 2018, 6 p.m.): An earlier version of this article misidentified the Florida county of Palm Beach as West Palm.

Footnotes

  1. In Arizona, Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema has a roughly 1.5-percentage-point lead over Republican Rep. Martha McSally. The state is issuing updated vote totals at 5 p.m. local time every day, and so far, Sinema has gained with every update; McSally needs to reverse that trend — and soon — or else this race is over.

  2. Currently, Democrat Gil Cisneros leads by around 1,000 votes in the California 39th District. However, late-arriving ballots tend to lean Democratic in California, so Cisneros’s lead may grow.

  3. After hosting the most expensive congressional election in U.S. history in 2017, the Georgia 6th District was once again closely fought in 2018. And we mean closely — according to the Georgia secretary of state, Democrat Lucy McBath leads Republican Rep. Karen Handel by less than 1 percentage point. McBath has declared victory, while Handel is making noise about requesting a recount. Even with some provisional and overseas ballots outstanding, though, she has an improbable road to a comeback.

  4. 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 should conclude on Thursday. However, on Tuesday, Poliquin filed a lawsuit alleging that ranked-choice voting could be illegal under federal law and is demanding that the counting stop (and he be declared the winner).

  5. Democrat Andy Kim declared victory in the New Jersey 3rd District the day after Election Day, but Republican Rep. MacArthur has not yet conceded. As of Tuesday afternoon, Kim led MacArthur by 3,478 votes, with 6,400 provisional ballots still being counted. With many of those provisional ballots from Democratic-leaning Burlington County, MacArthur’s path to victory looks slim.

  6. The New Mexico 2nd District was supposedly in the bag for Republican state Rep. Yvette Herrell — until 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, but Herrell is suing to have the Doña Ana absentee ballots impounded to check for signs of foul play.

  7. 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. Counting has begun of the race’s almost 14,000 absentee ballots, and with one out of eight counties done tabulating, Brindisi’s lead stands at 1,500 votes. Officials hope to finish counting by Thanksgiving.

  8. Finally, the Washington 8th District unsurprisingly remains undecided. Why? Washington votes almost entirely by mail and reports its election results in waves as the ballots arrive — and they can remain incomplete for a week or more. As of Wednesday evening, Democrat Kim Schrier leads Republican former state Sen. Dino Rossi 53 percent to 47 percent, but that is very much subject to change.

  9. In Florida, Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson initially appeared to have conceded on 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. That triggered both a machine recount and a manual recount, the latter of which was completed on Sunday and netted Nelson 2,570 votes over the machine recount (which put Scott’s margin at 12,603). Scott’s current (and presumably final) lead is 10,033 votes, or 0.12 percentage points. That’s close enough that the unusually high number of undervotes in the Senate race in Broward County may have cost Nelson the election. On Sunday afternoon, Nelson conceded for good.

  10. Although some networks have called the Georgia 7th District, Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux has not yet conceded. After the counting of the last ballots, Republican Rep. Rob Woodall led by only 419 votes. On Nov. 20, Bourdeaux officially requested a recount.

  11. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Jim Hagedorn held a slim lead over Democrat Dan Feehan in the Minnesota 1st District. If he holds on, it will be the second seat that Republicans flipped from blue to red this year. The Associated Press has called the race for Hagedorn — and he is definitely favored — but Feehan has not yet conceded.

  12. In the New York 27th District, ABC has projected that Republican Rep. Chris Collins has defeated Democratic Grand Island Town Supervisor Nate McMurray, but McMurray has retracted his election-night concession. WGRZ, an NBC-affiliated television station in Buffalo, reported that around 14,000 absentee and provisional ballots were cast in the race. With about 7,000 of them still uncounted going into the weekend, Collins’s lead remains greater than 2,000 votes. Most of the uncounted ballots are in Erie County, and they plan to tally them up by Tuesday, Nov. 20.

  13. In the North Carolina 9th District, Republican Mark Harris led Democrat Dan McCready by less than 2,000 votes with all precincts reporting. That was well within the necessary range to request a recount, but on Wednesday afternoon, McCready conceded the race. However, media outlets are being more cautious.

  14. 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.

  15. Republican former Rep. Ron DeSantis was declared the next governor of Florida on election night, but the same delay in vote-counting that tightened the Florida Senate race brought the gubernatorial contest within recount range as well. On Thursday, after the recount, DeSantis’s lead over Democratic Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum remained unchanged at 0.41 percentage points. Although that appears to be the ballgame, Gillum is has not yet conceded. He still has the option to contest the election in court.

  16. Finally, the gubernatorial race in Georgia remains uncalled — not because it’s likely Democratic former state House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams takes the lead, but because Republican former (he resigned on Nov. 8) Secretary of State Brian Kemp needs to win at least 50 percent plus one vote in order to avoid a rematch with Abrams in a Dec. 4 runoff. Unofficial election results on the state’s website give Kemp 50.2 percent of the vote, but that doesn’t include many absentee and provisional ballots. Abrams (or Libertarian candidate Ted Metz) would need to net almost 18,000 votes in order to deny Kemp a majority. Kemp’s camp says the votes aren’t there to force a runoff, but pending litigation could increase the number of ballots that need to be counted. Already, federal judges have ordered that counties re-examine thousands of provisional ballots, that absentee ballots without the correct birthdate be counted, and that provisional ballots cast in the wrong county not be counted. Counties now have until Friday at 5 p.m. to certify their new totals, after which point the state can finalize the results.

Nathaniel Rakich is FiveThirtyEight’s elections analyst.

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