Updating the Electoral Scoreboard

By Jim Ellis

Nov. 16, 2020 — With the presidential race still in the courts, the Nov.3 unofficial results yield the mirror image of the 2016 contest. In the previous election, Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton with a 306-232 electoral vote margin. In the current election, the margin between President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden is exactly the same, but this time it looks like the result is yielding a Democratic victory.

Four years ago, President Trump carried his final three states by a cumulative 77,000 votes. In this election, approximately 44,000-plus votes switching in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin would have re-elected the incumbent president.

The Senate contests are complete — until the Georgia runoffs occur on Jan. 5 and the outcomes of the Sen. David Perdue v. Jon Ossoff and Sen. Kelly Loeffler v. Raphael Warnock campaigns will determine the Senate majority.

A Democratic sweep would catapult them into a 50-50 tie and allow the incoming vice president, Kamala Harris, to send the Democrats into the majority. This assumes she resigns her California Senate seat in a timely fashion thus allowing Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to name a replacement and see the individual sworn into the office. Republicans would retain the Senate majority with a victory in just one of the two Georgia runoff campaigns.

Several House seats were called or conceded over the weekend. California challenger Young Kim (R) who lost by just under 8,000 votes two years ago, rebounded to unseat freshman incumbent Gil Cisneros (D-Yorba Linda). Former NFL Super Bowl champion defensive back Burgess Owens (R) looks to have defeated Utah freshman Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Salt Lake City) by 2,095 votes in a race that has unofficially drawn 372,369 voters, a turnout increase of 26.3 percent from the previous presidential election. This race is scheduled to be certified tomorrow.

Additional calls were made in New York where Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-Cold Spring), Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck), and John Katko (R-Syracuse) have all been projected as re-election winners though votes remain to be counted. The same for Republican Andrew Garbarino who holds retiring GOP Rep. Peter King’s seat on Long Island.

In Louisiana, state Rep. Lance Harris (R-Alexandria) has qualified for the Dec. 5 runoff election in the state’s open northeast 5th Congressional District, holding off Democrat Candy Christophe by just 428 votes. Harris will oppose former congressional aide Luke Letlow in a double Republican contest.

One race that looked to be called has come back into the undetermined realm according to several media outlets. New Jersey Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-Rocky Hill) was originally projected the winner over state Sen. Minority Leader Tom Kean, Jr. (R-Westfield), but enough votes remain to potentially change the outcome. Kean has now reduced his deficit to 4,339 votes. Rep. Malinowski is still favored, but Kean still has a mathematical chance of winning.

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate (R), in accordance with the election laws and procedures he must follow, has certified state Sen. Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ (R-Ottumwa) 47-vote finish over former state Senator and 2018 lieutenant governor nominee Rita Hart (D). The latter woman has called for a recount and has filed for such in all of the district’s 24 counties. The process will begin immediately, and the closeness of the final count suggests the result could ultimately change.

In the final remaining races, California Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) holds only a 104 vote lead over state Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Newhall) with mail ballot counting continuing in both Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Former Rep. David Valadao (R) leads freshman Rep. T.J. Cox (D-Fresno) by 2,065 votes with mail votes remaining in all four of the district’s counties. It appears that the 21st District’s largest county, Kern, which is most favorable to Rep. Cox, has the most outstanding votes.

One New York congressional campaign curiously remains uncalled even though former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) leads freshman Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica) by 25,885 votes with approximately 19 percent of the vote still remaining to be counted. It appears that Brindisi would need to approach 70 percent of the estimated outstanding votes in order to turn around this outcome.

In all, Republicans have gained a net nine seats, taking 12 from the Democrats and losing an open seat in Georgia and dropping two elections in North Carolina because of a court-ordered redistricting map. Eleven of the 12 converted districts were from the category that flipped away from the GOP and to the Democrats in 2018.

When all of the races are complete, the Republican gain number will range from eight to 12 seats, most likely coming in at 10. This would mean the new House would break, 224D-211R. Therefore, the Republican gain number to re-claim the House majority in the 2022 election would be just seven.

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