By Jim Ellis
Nov. 10, 2016 — As outstanding and absentee votes continue to be tallied, more races are being decided. Yesterday’s biggest development was concluding the year long toss-up battle between New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) and Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) in what proved to be a laboriously slow counting process. With the election dust finally settling, we now see a victory for Gov. Hassan. From more than 707,000 votes cast, her unofficial victory margin appears to be just 716 votes.
Sen. Ayotte’s loss means the Republican majority margin will likely end at 52-48, since the Dec. 10 Louisiana run-off election will probably yield a John Kennedy (R) win. Kennedy, the four-term state treasurer, placed first on Tuesday night in a field of 24 candidates followed by Democrat Foster Campbell, a Louisiana public service commissioner and multiple-time statewide candidate.
This isn’t an easy race for Kennedy, however. Often, after one party wins a national election an emotional let down can occur in a quick subsequent vote, and a lack of enthusiasm allows the losing party to rebound. Additionally, we merely have to retreat to October 2015 to find the last time the Democrats won a Louisiana statewide election (governor’s campaign: John Bel Edwards-D defeated Sen. David Vitter-R).
Elsewhere, the media finally projected Arizona for Donald Trump. He was running consistently ahead by a least 70,000 votes throughout Tuesday night, and a very slow counting process delayed a final projection. Even now, it appears that 20 percent of the vote remains to be counted. But, the outstanding number is low enough to guarantee that Trump will sustain his lead.
The Detroit News has also projected Michigan for Trump, indicating that the final official count will yield him winning that state by just over 13,000 votes, in what is a major upset.
New Hampshire has finally been called for Hillary Clinton. It appears her tight Granite State small victory margin is 1,437 votes from 728,960 cast, or two-tenths of one percentage point.
Adding Arizona and Michigan to Trump’s unofficial electoral vote total would bring his final number to 306. New Hampshire going to Clinton means her final standing ends at 232, or exactly 100 fewer electoral votes than the previous Democratic nominee, President Obama, received in 2012.
Elsewhere, further outstanding House races were called. In California, Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock/Modesto) was projected the winner in his re-match contest with businessman Michael Eggman (D). He posted 52.4 percent, but the vote totals are still low. California still has a great many outstanding votes, but apparently not enough here for Eggman to overcome the deficit he faces.
In Nebraska, the Republicans scored a conversion victory as retired Air Force General Don Bacon defeated freshman Rep. Brad Ashford (D-Omaha). Bacon scored a 49.4 – 47.3 percent victory over Ashford, who was one of only two Democrats to defeat a Republican incumbent in 2014.
Four House races remain uncalled, including the two Louisiana run-off campaigns (Dec. 10) in Districts 3 and 4. The remaining pair is found in California, awaiting final vote counting.
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Sacramento) leads Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones by 2,094 votes. This type of result is nothing new for Bera who has won his two previous terms in a similarly close manner. It is probable that Rep. Bera will hold on for another victory.
In San Diego County, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) leads retired Marine Colonel Doug Applegate by two percentage points, again waiting for completion of the final counting process in order to determine a winner.
At this point, the House partisan division is 238-193 with the four outstanding elections remaining. The GOP is assured of at least one more win; the LA-3 race features a double-Republican run-off.