FiveThirtyEight
Geoffrey Skelley

As Votes Are Counted, Republicans Continue To Make Gains In The House

The news just keeps getting better and better for the GOP in the House. While Democrats will retain their House majority, two more projections by ABC News today gave the GOP a pickup in a Democratic-held seat as well as an important hold in a suburban district that Democrats had hoped to capture. In California’s Orange County-based 48th District, Republican Michelle Steel defeated Democratic Rep. Harley Rouda, winning back a seat the GOP lost in 2018. Meanwhile, in Texas’s 24th Congressional District in Dallas-Fort Worth, Republican Beth Van Duyne defeated Democrat Candace Valenzuela in an open-seat race. Democrats had hoped to make inroads here after their Texas surge in 2018, but Van Duyne held Valenzuela off to retain the seat for the GOP. But there are still 13 House contests to keep an eye on, as you can see in the table below. (There’s also an impending runoff in a heavily GOP Louisiana seat and an all-Democratic race still outstanding in California). And in some of these contests, Republicans now find themselves with narrow leads.
House races we’re still waiting on

Share of the expected vote reported, by race and the leading party’s current margin

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Source: ABC News

  • Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District: Perhaps the closest race in the country, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks now leads Democrat Rita Hart by fewer than 50 votes in an open seat held by retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack. The state accepted mail ballots up through Monday, Nov. 9, so it’s unclear if a handful of additional ballots may still be added to the count. But as the current margin is just 0.01 percentage points (!), Hart could request a recount paid for by the state. In other words, it could be a bit before we know the final outcome here.
  • Utah’s 4th Congressional District: Republican Burgess Owens now has a narrow 0.2-point edge over Democratic Rep. Ben McAdams, or less than 700 votes, according to ABC News. It’s unclear just how many votes are left to count here — Utah is an all-mail voting state — but most outstanding ballots appear to be from Salt Lake County, the most Democratic-leaning part of the district. Whether that will be enough to help McAdams remains to be seen.
  • Illinois’s 14th Congressional District: Democratic Rep. Lauren Underwood leads Republican Jim Oberweis by 0.3 points in this suburban Chicago district. But the state’s receipt deadline for ballots mailed by Election Day is Nov. 17, so a few more votes may trickle in. Some other outlets have already declared Underwood the winner, however.
  • Three California races: California often sees a large number of votes counted in the days following the election, which sometimes leads to sizable shifts in vote margins. This is due in part to California’s generous mail ballot receipt deadline (Nov. 20), so more votes may arrive in the coming days. There are three Democrat vs. Republican races where ABC News has not yet made a projection. Democrats have a slight 0.4-point lead in California’s 25th Congressional District, which the GOP flipped in a May 2020 special election. But Republican Rep. Mike Garcia and Democrat Christy Smith have been trading leads here as the vote count progresses, so it’s anyone’s guess how it’ll finish. Meanwhile the GOP holds narrow leads in the California 21st and 39th congressional districts, but it’s unclear how those races will pan out — multiple counties in the 21st District have more ballots to process, while Orange County has around 28,000 ballots left to count, some of which will be in the 39th District. And Kings County in the 21st District just announced that it’s suspending canvassing operations until Nov. 21 because of an exposure to COVID-19, so don’t be surprised if it’s one of the last House seats where we know who won.
  • Seven New York races: Many New York counties won’t begin counting mail ballots until this week — the state’s ballot receipt deadline is Nov. 10 — and as at least 1.2 million mail votes were cast, so a lot could change in the seven House races where we don’t know who won. This is especially true as Democrats were much more likely to say they planned to vote by mail than Republicans. Democratic incumbents in the state’s 3rd, 11th and 22nd congressional districts will have to hope that there are enough Democratic votes left to count that they can overcome their current deficits; otherwise, the GOP’s most productive state for House gains in 2020 could be New York.

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