Election Day has come and gone, ballots have been cast, winners and losers have been declared. Right?
Wrong. There are still a handful of congressional races still yet to be decided, due to a variety of reasons — ongoing counting in some districts, Louisiana’s run-off system, and candidates who refuse to concede even though all the votes are in.
Here’s a look at the races still being fought for the People’s House in Congress, even though it was determined last Tuesday night that Republicans would remain in control of the lower chamber.
Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) has retaken the lead by a mere 330 votes in this seesawing contest to serve a full term in the Tucson-based seat formerly held by Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. Barber held the lead through most of election night, only to see it flip for a time to Republican challenger Martha McSally, a retired US Air Force colonel, as more and more voters were counted.
The district is mostly Pima County, falling along a large section of the US-Mexico border. As of Monday morning, county officials said they still have about 30,000 absentee and provisional ballots to count, which is why the lead has been shifting back and forth.
The Associated Press called a victory on Monday afternoon for Democratic candidate Kyrsten Sinema, who had a lead of about 5,800 votes over Republican Vernon Parker for this Phoenix-based district. At issue was that Maricopa County, which contains Phoenix and some outlying suburbs, still had 120,000 ballots to left count, according to county officials cited by the Phoenix New Times. Arizona overall had almost half a million ballots left to count as of Saturday. Parker has not yet conceded the race.
Not all of Maricopa County’s uncounted votes fall into the 9th Congressional District, but since the county is making its way through a pile of early and provisional ballots, a official result will have to wait until the whole lot is counted.
California 52nd and 7th:
It’s a similar story in the two outstanding California seats. Incumbent Republican Brian Bilbray was down 1,334 votes to Democratic challenger Scott Peters for San Diego-based 52nd Congressional District. Like in Arizona, there is a large batch of provisional and absentee ballots to be counted in San Diego County as a whole, some of which will affect the race for the 52nd.
It’s the same deal in California’s 7th, located in Sacramento County, where officials are still counting absentee and provisional ballots. Republican Rep. Dan Lungren is down 1,779 votes to Democratic challenger Dr. Ami Bera. California has no automatic recount provision, although a challenger can ask for one as long as they put down a $5,000 deposit.
Bilbray and Lungren have yet to concede.
Counting is over in South Florida. President Obama won the state and Rep. Allen West (R-FL) lost his bid for re-election to Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy. Except that West hasn’t conceded the (particularly nasty) contest, and is seeking a recount based on “disturbing irregularities” with the vote. The final margin, 6-tenths of a percent, was not small enough to trigger an automatic recount.
West’s allegations and subsequent filings with Florida courts, documented here in a WPTV report, boil down to the idea that only a potion of the early and provisional ballots in St. Lucie County were recounted. St. Lucie County Assistant Attorney Heather Young provided the reasoning before the recount took place. “There was an issue with the memory cards that record the ballots when they’re fed through the machines originally,” Young told WPTV. “The state has recommended — not just in St. Lucie County, but also in other counties where problems occurred with the memory cards — that ballots be recounted.”
West’s side called the process a “sham” and made clear they would use the courts to fight the final result, a 2,442 vote margin of victory for the challenger Murphy.
North Carolina 7th:
Eight-term Congressman Mike McIntyre (D-NC) has a tiny 420-vote unofficial lead in his contest against state Sen. David Rouzer, down from the 507-vote lead McIntyre held after the dust settled on Election Day. The shifting total is due to officials still counting provisional and absentee ballots in the eastern North Carolina district.
Rouzer has not conceded, and could ask for a recount under North Carolina law if he’s still behind after all the ballots are counted and the margin of victory remains below 1 percent.
The 3rd Congressional District in Louisiana isn’t headed for a recount, it’s headed for a run-off. Fellow Congressmen Charles Boustany and Jeff Landry, both Republicans, were forced to run against each other by redistricting. Because of Louisiana’s two-step system, if no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote on Election Day, then another election is held a month later. Boustany got 44.7 percent of the total and Tea Party favorite Landry saw 30 percent. The two will head to the final Dec. 8 vote.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.