Where Things Stand
Why is it taking the states out West so damn long to figure out the winners of their various electoral contests?
Well, in part, it's because the remaining contests are very close. And in part it's because those pinko Westerners try
to make sure as many people get to vote as is possible. And so, mail-in ballots are still being processed and, in some
cases, are still being received. That latter fact is due in part to somewhat forgiving deadlines, but it's also due to
slow USPS service. So if you're really irritated about all of this, feel free to blame Postmaster General Louis
Anyhow, let's do a rundown of where things stand as of 4:00 a.m. ET on Friday. First up, the three unresolved
- Arizona: This is the biggie, since Republicans control the Arizona legislature. So, if
Kari Lake (R) gets elected, then the Grand Canyon State could become a "democracy" in the way that many Deep South
states are "democracies." At the moment, Katie Hobbs (D) is up 50.7% (1,031,816 votes) to 49.3% for Lake (1,004,837)
with 82% reporting. There are roughly 570,000 ballots
left to count;
most of them are from Maricopa County, which leans blue and has broken for Hobbs by 4% thus far. And about 290,000 of
those Maricopa votes are mail-in ballots that the USPS failed to deliver in a timely manner. Since mail-in votes tend to
favor Democrats, the odds are that there isn't going to be a sharp break in favor of Lake. Put another way, Lake would
have to get about 53% of the remaining ballots. She does not seem likely to outperform her current numbers with mostly
mail-in ballots and mostly ballots from Maricopa. Certainly, Lake herself seems to think so; she's already
- Nevada: We wrote yesterday that this one was resolved, but that was an error. In fact,
Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) is trailing right now; he has 46.6% of the vote (427,853) to 49.7% (456,396) for Republican Joe
Lombardo, with 90% reporting. Note that the 90% number is a crude estimate; there are still several days for ballots to be
delivered and be legal. Still, even though the outstanding ballots are virtually all mail-in, Sisolak has a tall hill to
climb. He would need something like two-thirds of the remaining mail-in ballots, which is... a lot.
- Alaska: This is only unresolved in a technical sense. Gov. Mike Dunleavy (R) is going to
be reelected, and he might pull it off without the need for multiple rounds of ranked-choice voting. He's got 52.1% of
the vote right now, with 80% reporting. We would assume that, as RCV gets more common, outlets will be more comfortable
calling races like this one.
And the Senate races:
- Arizona: Sen. Mark Kelly (D) has 51.7% of the vote (1,059,387) vs. 46.1% (944,350) for
Blake Masters (R). The same circumstances apply here as in the gubernatorial race—a little more than half a
million votes left, most of them from blue-leaning Maricopa, or blue-leaning mail-in voters, or both. However, while
Lake would need 53% of them, Masters would have to take 60%. That seems highly implausible, and we're kind of surprised
that this race hasn't already been called.
- Nevada: Adam Laxalt (R) is up 48.9% (450,534) to 48.0% (441,546) for Sen. Catherine Cortez
Masto (D) with 90% reporting. Again, the remaining 100,000 or so votes are mail-in; it's certainly plausible that Cortez
Masto could win those 55-45 and pull this out. That said, even when the final tally is announced, there's likely to be
- Georgia: Nobody has "found" a bunch of votes for one candidate or the other, so this one
is definitely headed to a runoff on December 6.
- Alaska: This one is more unresolved than the gubernatorial race, as the identity of the
winner isn't known. It's likely to be Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R), who has 42.8% of the vote with 80% reporting, and is
probably the second choice of another 20% of voters or so. It could be Kelly Tshibaka (R), who currently leads with
44.2%. Either way, it's going to be an (R), so everyone has put this one in the red column, even if we don't know for
sure which (R) it is.
As to the House, the general consensus is that the Republicans have locked down 211 seats, the Democrats have
secured 194, and that control of the chamber is down to 30 seats. That would seem to be grim for the blue team,
since the red team is just 7 seats away from the promised land, and 7 out of 30 is a mere 23.3%. However, a sizable
number of the outstanding seats are in those namby-pamby Western states, particularly California. Many of those,
in turn, are un-called because less than 50% of the vote has been counted. To take one example, CA-09, a D+8 district where
Rep. Josh Harder (D) has 56.3% of the vote, is not very likely to flip. But because only 47% of the vote has been
counted, it hasn't been called yet.
The New York Times has
a very good rundown
of where the remaining races stand. What it amounts to is that the Democrats are still underdogs to hold the House, but
not quite as much as "win 23 of 30" would seem to suggest. About two-thirds of the remaining seats lean Democratic. If
the blue team can hold those, then they just need a handful of upsets among the Republican-leaning and toss-up seats.
And if the Republicans do take control, it will almost certainly be with a razor-thin margin. Of course, we won't have a
complete answer for several weeks, as some of the close races are sure to end up in recounts.
That's where things stand, then. Our guess is that the next big news will be "Kelly wins," followed by "Dunleavy
wins," then "Hobbs wins," then "Murkowski wins." That means that we are presume the last major
contest to be resolved, other than the Georgia runoff, is the Nevada Senate race. (Z)
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