So far, Democrats have clinched 222 seats in the next House, and Republicans have clinched 209 (including Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District, which is going to a Republican-vs.-Republican runoff on Dec. 5). That leaves four House races still unresolved. Here’s a quick update on where those contests stand:
- Iowa’s 2nd District: In the closest race in the country, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks leads Democrat Rita Hart by about 50 votes in an open seat held by retiring Democratic Rep. Dave Loebsack. But given the current margin is just 0.01 percentage points (!), Hart requested a recount, which counties in the district have now begun to conduct. On Wednesday, Hart’s campaign sent a letter to the secretary of state’s office that asked for clarification regarding recount procedures for checking voter intent on ballots that a tabulation machine might fail to read. Counties appear to have differing interpretations of the secretary’s guidance: Some have taken it to mean they can only check voter intent if a full hand recount, as opposed to a machine recount, is conducted. If a full hand recount is required to apply the voter intent standard, it would be difficult to complete for all absentee ballots, which are treated as a single precinct, by the Nov. 27-28 deadline. But without examining voter intent, especially with over- and undervotes, valid votes could be missed that the machine couldn’t read. Together, the two bluest counties in the district — Johnson (Iowa City) and Scott (Davenport) — apparently have more than 7,000 undervotes to potentially examine.
- Two 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 (tomorrow, Nov. 20), so a few more votes may arrive that could influence the outcomes in two undecided races in the Golden State. In California’s 25th District, Republican Rep. Mike Garcia holds a razor-thin 0.1-point edge (422 votes) over Democrat Christy Smith. Garcia flipped this seat in a May 2020 special election, and Smith may be running out of runway to overtake Garcia as counties near the completion of their vote counts. The GOP also holds a narrow 1.1-point lead in California’s 21st Congressional District, but it’s unclear how that race will pan out as multiple counties in the 21st District still have more ballots to process.
- New York’s 22nd District: The initial trajectory of the count favored Republican Claudia Tenney, who led Democratic Rep. Anthony Brindisi by 28,422 votes after Election Day, but absentee ballots have almost completely erased that lead. Unfortunately, there is no centralized official source for results, but independent media tallies currently put Tenney’s lead somewhere between 106 and 339 votes. There may (or may not) be a few hundred ballots yet to count.