These Races Are Still Up In The Air As Dust Starts To Settle After Election Day

LIVINGSTON, MT - NOVEMBER 02: Montana Democrat Senator Jon Tester who his defending his senate seat from Republican Matt Rosendale campaigns with Democrat Kathleen Williams who is running against Republican Greg Gianforte for Montana's lone house seat on November 2, 2018 in Livingston, Montana. (Photo by William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images)
WILLIAM CAMPBELL/Corbis News

A number of crucial midterms races remained too close to call or possibly headed for a runoff Wednesday morning, hours after polls closed across country.

The overall shape of the race tracked with pollsters’ expectations: Democrats took control of the House of Representatives, Republicans slightly expanded their majority in the Senate, and key governor’s mansions flipped in both directions. But the final results, revealing just how well each party did, are not yet clear.

Florida’s Senate race remains one of the biggest question marks. Republican Rick Scott holds a lead of some 34,700 votes over incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson as of Wednesday morning out of over 8.1 million ballots cast, leaving him with a lead of just .42 percent.

Florida state law automatically triggers a recount if a race comes down to less than .5 percent, and Nelson announced Wednesday that he would demand one.

In neighboring Georgia, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams is refusing to concede to Secretary of State Brian Kemp, saying key provisional and mail ballots are left to be counted.

Kemp was leading with 50.5 percent of the vote—just half a point over the threshold needed to avoid a runoff under state law—as of Wednesday morning. But the Abrams campaign said they can make up that ground, which they claim amounts to just over 15,000 votes. They’ve pointed to “irregularities” in the voting process, noting that Kemp’s office was hit with lawsuits for suppressing minority votes and that residents were forced to wait in hours-long lines at polling sites across the state.

Two other Senate races remained uncalled as of Wednesday: Arizona and Montana. Republican Martha McSally was in the lead by .9 percentage points, or some 15,908 votes over Democrat Kyrsten Sinema on Wednesday, with 99 percent of Arizona precincts reporting.

In Montana, Democrat Jon Tester overtook Republican Matt Rosendale late Wednesday morning with 99 percent of votes in. The Democratic incumbent had 48.8 percent of the vote compared to 48.3 percent for the State Auditor.

Several closely-watched races in the House, favorable terrain for Democrats this cycle, also remained murky on Wednesday.

The weirdest situation was playing out in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District. The Associated Press declared the race for incumbent Republican Rep. Will Hurd last night, but then reversed their call, determining his race against against Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones was too close. With all precincts reporting, Hurd had a lead of just 689 votes—or .3 percent—out of over 209,500 cast.

There was another flip-flop in western New York’s 27th Congressional District. Democrat Nate McMurray appeared to concede the race to indicted Republican Rep. Chris Collins on Tuesday night, before reversing course some two hours later.

“After examining the numbers, the margin is 1% and the will of the voters must be heard. We are demanding a recount. Mr. Collins is going to need another set of lawyers,” McMurray’s campaign said in a statement.

Collins, a Trump ally who has pleaded not guilty to federal insider trading charges, led McMurray by just 2,808 votes with 99 percent of precincts reporting.

Back in Georgia, GOP Rep. Karen Handel was locked in a too-close-to-call contest against Democratic gun activist Lucy McBath. Handel is running for reelection after winning an expensive, closely-watched special election seat against Democrat Jon Osoff last year.

Several California tossup races that Democrats had hoped to win were also not yet final.

Orange County Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, nicknamed “Putin’s favorite congressman,” trailed Democratic real estate executive Harley Rouda by 1.4 percentage points with all precincts reporting.

But Republicans seem to have held on in two other districts considered possible Democratic pickups. Both Rep. Jeff Denham and Mimi Walters are leading Democratic challengers in their yet-to-be-called races.

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