A House race in California looks like another GOP pickup, plus a legal battle in New York

There are currently 8 House races that haven’t been called by the Associated Press yet but three of the races are over. In NY-11, Democrat Max Rose conceded to Republican Nicole Malliotakis, that was a flip. And in NY-24, Democrat Dana Balter conceded to incumbent Republican John Katko. Thursday, Jazz wrote about the third race in New York that is now over. In NY-2, Democrat Jackie Gordon conceded to Republican Andrew Garabino. That counts as a hold for the GOP since Garabino will be replacing the retiring Rep. Peter King.

So that puts at +9 for the GOP with 5 races left to call. One of those races in California is between Democratic Rep. TJ Cox and GOP challenger David Valadao. Valadao lost the seat to Cox in 2018. Now he appears to be about to claim it back. On Friday, a new update from Kern County, which has been +17 for Cox, reduced Valadao’s lead by 178 votes. Still, with nearly all of the vote counted, Valadao continues to lead Cox by 1,618 votes. That was enough for the U.S. House editor for Cook Political Report to call this one over:

Again, the race hasn’t been called by the Associated Press but it looks like this is in the bag. So that puts the GOP at +10 in the House with just four races left to call.

Currently the GOP leads in all four of those remaining races but in two of them the margin is razor thin. In NY-22, there is another rematch of a race that took place in 2018. Back then, Democrat Anthony Brindisi narrowly defeated Republican Claudia Tenney by about 4,500 votes.

This year, Tenney was up on election day by about 28,000 votes but since then a count of mail-in ballots has steadily eaten away at her lead. The race is currently down to a few hundred votes. With a race this close, lawyers on both sides are now involved:

The results have not been released or finalized, but both campaigns agreed on Friday that Ms. Tenney’s lead over Mr. Brindisi has shrunk to around 100 votes. It was unclear whether there was a small number of affidavit ballots elsewhere in the district yet to be counted.

The race is likely to be decided by a judge, as both camps gear up for a protracted legal fight over an unknown number of contested ballots that could determine the victor. Neither candidate has conceded and The Associated Press has not called the race…

After meeting with the parties on Friday, Justice DelConte said all eight counties should report the final vote totals to him on Monday in order to address ballots contested for technical errors.

The judge also ordered the counties to deliver absentee or affidavit ballots challenged by the campaigns to the Oswego County Courthouse, where he will begin reviewing them next week.

While the NY Times says the race is down to 100 votes, this Syracuse.com story says Tenney’s lead is closer to 300 votes. Either way it’s probably going to come down to legal challenges. If Tenney holds on, that would be another flipped seat and would bring the GOP’s House gains to +11, with 3 races left to be called.

The tightest of those races, and the final chance for a GOP pickup, is Iowa-2. This is a race currently separated by about 50 votes. Democrat Rita Hart has asked for a recount and is now asking for a count of undervotes and overvotes:

According to the Hart campaign, there are more than 200 overvotes and over 18,000 undervotes. While many of those ballots likely would not have resulted in a vote for either candidate, they argued that in light of the tight margin and wealth of ballots, Pate should instruct county recount boards to complete a hand-count of undercount and overcount ballots to determine if there was clear voter intent.

“Unless you clarify your guidance, it is practically certain that the recount will disregard more than 50 lawfully cast ballots with clear voter intent, in violation of Iowa law. There are enough ballots at stake here to decide the outcome of the election,” Shayla McCormally, the Hart campaign’s attorney, wrote.

That one could take a while and either way it’s probably going to come down to a legal battle over a handful of votes. However that turns out, the GOP did extremely well in the House this year, especially compared to the predictions that Democrats would gain 10-15 seats.

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