Unconvened CA races could decide the fate of the US House

CALIFORNIA — A series of undetermined and uncalled races in California could hold the key to taking control of the US House of Representatives.

Only about a handful of the Golden State’s races were considered close enough to go either way. It takes 218 seats to control the House of Representatives. According to Sunday’s New York Times, Republicans had 211 on long-term suspensions and Democrats maintained 204.

Millions of ballots have yet to be counted and it could be weeks before these races are called, keeping both parties on their toes. About 60 percent of the votes were tallied in California, the New York Times reported.

Find out what’s happening in Los Angeleswith free real-time patch updates.

Democrats breathed a sigh of relief on Saturday after an expected red wave failed to hit the US Senate, but it remains to be seen what will happen after about 11 undeclared races were fully counted.

Republicans hoped for a nationwide obliteration, but they didn’t get it. After Democrats clinched several hard-fought victories in swing districts, such as Rep. Abigail Spanberger’s Virginia seat, victories many Republicans predicted were yet to materialize Wednesday.

Find out what’s happening in Los Angeleswith free real-time patch updates.

If the Democrats lose control of their narrow majority, Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy will be of Bakersfield would be in line to replace speaker Nancy Pelosi from San Francisco.

The house will really come to CaliforniaDave Wasserman, a House racial analyst at the bipartisan Cook Political Report, told MSNBC on Friday.

Jessica Levinson, a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, told the San Francisco Chronicle that counting and verifying ballots takes longer and a larger majority of ballot submitters are Democrats.

“That’s not surprising because Republicans have said time and time again that you can’t trust the mail-in system and mail-in voting and you have to attend Election Day,” Levinson told the newspaper.

One of the closest battlefield races was still unfolding in Orange County. The region was once a GOP stronghold but it has become increasingly diverse and democratic. There, Democratic Rep. Katie Porter, a star of the party’s progressive wing, met Republican Scott Baugh, a former rep., in an Orange County district roughly equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.

As of Sunday, Porter had around 51.3 percent of the vote, while Baugh had 48.7 percent.

In another close encounter in a Democratic district north of Los Angeles, Republican US Rep. Mike Garcia saw his comfortable lead over Democratic challenger Christy Smith slip slightly. His margin stayed at 12 points, 56 percent to 44 percent.

Democrats have long dominated California’s congressional delegation, which will fall from 53 seats to 52 seats next year because population growth has stalled, though it remains the largest delegation in Congress.

In the current term, Republicans hold just 11 of the 53 seats in the heavily democratic state.

At an incomplete count, the Republicans have won six races so far and led in six others.

Democrats had victories in 30 seats and led in 10 other contests. In two of those races, only Democrats were on the ballot, meaning the party will retain control of those seats.

But a lot of uncertainty remained. As of Thursday, nearly 5 million ballots remained uncounted nationwide.

Over in Riverside County, Republican Rep. Ken Calvert retook the lead after trailing Democrat Will Rollins. With about half of the votes counted, Calvert had a 1-point lead. Calvert, first elected in 1992, is the longest-serving Republican in California’s congressional delegation.

The desert district morphed into a more competitive one after the area was redrawn to include Palm Springs, which has a dominant LGBTQ community. Nevertheless, the New York Times had bet on Calvert’s victory. Rollin’s victory over the 30-year incumbent would come as a huge surprise.

It remains to be seen if Palm Springs Liberals will be able to turn red county blue.

In the Central Valley’s 22nd district, where about half the vote was counted, an update showed Democrat Rudy Salas taking the lead from Republican Rep. David Valadao, who voted to impeach then-President Donald Trump. The two will be separated by 5 points after Valadao had previously been more than 8 points clear.

In an embattled district anchored in San Diego County, Democratic Rep. Mike Levin saw his lead over Republican businessman Brian Maryott widen slightly. Levin has a 4-point lead with about two-thirds of the votes counted.

Speaking in San Diego County at a rally in support of the imperiled Levin last week, President Joe Biden said the outcome of the election will “set the direction of the country for at least a decade or more.”

“This is a choice… between two fundamentally different versions of America,” Biden said Thursday.

SEE ALSO: CA Ballot Proposals: What Passed, What Failed

As Election Day began, the Golden State had the most competitive home races of any state. Republican Party officials, anticipating a red wave, have expressed confidence that the party could flip up to five counties in the state and give the GOP control of the House. Even rising Democratic stars like Porter faced serious re-election threats, according to the polls ahead of Election Day.

Democrats turned to their big guns — former President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Gov. Gavin Newsom — ahead of this election to get the vote in California.

As his party faced the potential loss of control of the House and Senate, Biden issued an urgent appeal urging voters to go to the polls to support Democratic candidates and warned that a Republican congress would transform America would threaten security by restricting health care and abortion rights and retirement.

The president’s return to heavily Democratic California in the run-up to Election Day reflected the looming threat to his party in a turbulent mid-election year when Republicans appeared poised to seize control of the House of Representatives, a bleak prospect for Biden along the way into the second half of his term of office.

His stopover focused on securing Levin’s District, which has a slight Democratic slant and cuts through San Diego and Orange counties and was carried by Biden in double digits in the 2020 presidential election.

He said Levin “delivers. It lowers costs for families, takes care of our veterans and protects the environment.”

Biden was in a neighboring coastal county last month on behalf of another vulnerable Southern California Democrat: Porter.

But Democrats have been forced to play defense, even in a notoriously liberal state where former President Donald Trump lost over 5 million votes in 2020. Biden’s falling approval ratings weighed on Democratic candidates in general, though voter polls suggest he’s stronger in California than the nation as a whole.

“Even in areas where President Biden has won by a wide margin, we are seeing an unfortunate shift,” Porter wrote in a fundraising pitch a week before Election Day. “Republicans are voting well across the country, and we’re seeing particularly worrying trends in blue states like California.”

CONTINUE READING: California Election Results: Will California Really Be Hit by a Red Wave?

Get more local news straight to your inbox. Sign up for free patch newsletters and alerts.