The Corner


A Quick Update on the Unresolved House of Representatives Races

People fill out their ballots at an early-voting site in Arlington, Va., September 18, 2020. (Al Drago/Reuters)

Right now on Politico’s map of House races, 215 races have been called for the Democratic candidates, 198 races have been called for the Republican ones, and Louisiana’s fifth congressional district will go to a runoff between two Republican candidates.

Of the 22 unresolved races, the GOP candidate currently leads in 12 of them. If all of those Republican leads held, it would add up to a 224-211 split in favor of Democrats, a shift of 11 seats from the start of the previous Congress two years ago.

Out of those dozen Republican leads, some look safe, and some are likely to flip once all the absentee ballots are counted.

  • In Alaska, Don Young is extremely likely to return for his 25th term in the House.
  • In California, four Republicans lead in a state that is infamous for counting the votes slowly. County election officials have until December 4 to report final results.
  • In the Golden state’s eighth district — the largest and least densely populated district in the state –Republican Jay Obernolte leads by about 15,000 votes, with 83 percent of the votes counted. GOP incumbent Paul Cook is retiring.
  • In California’s 21st district, Republican David Valadao leads by 4,558 votes over Democratic incumbent T.J. Cox, with 70 percent of precincts reporting, in a rematch of the 2018 race that Cox won, 50.38 percent to 49.62 percent.
  • The final two districts in this state feature Korean-American women GOP candidates; either or both would become the first. In California’s 39th district Young Kim leads by 1 percent, in a district she almost won last cycle. In California’s 48th district, Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Michelle Steel “appears to have an insurmountable lead.” But neither race has been called by local or national media.
  • In Iowa, Politico has Republican U.S. House candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks leading Democrat Rita Hart, but the Des Moines Register reports this morning that Hart now leads by 152 votes out of more than 400,000 cast. (UPDATE: As of this afternoon, Miller-Meeks is now ahead by 52 votes.)
  • New York state has six House races with the GOP candidate leading but not yet called. But five appear to be uncalled just because of the number of uncounted absentees, not because the counted totals are particularly close. In the first district, Republican incumbent Lee Zeldin is likely to win another term with a 66,000-vote lead, and it is a similar story in the second district, where the GOP’s Andrew Garbarino leads by 45,000 votes.
  • In the 11th district which covers Staten Island, Nicole Malliotakis leads incumbent Democrat Max Rose by 37,000 votes.
  • In 22nd district, Claudia Tenney currently leads Anthony J. Brindisi by 28,000 votes in a rematch of the 2018 race, and in the 24th district, incumbent Republican John Katko leads Dana Balter by 55,000 votes.
  • In the third district, Democratic incumbent Thomas Suozzi is currently trailing Republican challenger George Santos by about 4,000 votes, but Suozzi is expected to pull ahead when the remaining 28 percent of estimated ballots are counted.
  • In Texas, Republican Beth Van Duyne leads by 4,489 votes over Democrat Candace Valenzuela, and Van Duyne “declared victory early Wednesday. Her campaign staff on Thursday called for Valenzuela to concede, saying that Van Duyne’s lead is insurmountable.” Valenzuela says she wants to see the results of the provisional ballots before conceding.
  • In Utah, Republican Burgess Owens leads by 695 votes over incumbent Democrat Ben McAdams, who won this seat in 2018 by less than 700 votes. (Despite popular opinion, an Owens victory would not be the first time in U.S. history that a New York Jet did not blow a narrow lead at the last second.)

It is also worth noting that in Illinois’ 14th congressional district, first-term Democrat Lauren Underwood leads challenger Jim Oberweis by 1,147 votes, and a recount is likely.

Add it all up, and the Republican candidates are likely (but not guaranteed) to keep their leads in Alaska, perhaps three of the four California districts, probably five of the six New York districts, the Texas seat, and the Utah seat. That would give them 210 seats, a comfortable starting spot if they wish to flip control of the U.S. House in the 2022 midterm elections.


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