The AP finally corrected its massive New Haven mistake, and Dan Malloy is now leading by 4,300 votes - a 12,000-vote swing since the AP’s evening numbers. With the remaining ten precincts all located in Bridgeport, Malloy looks in a good position to become Connecticut’s first Democratic Governor since 1991.
Tom Foley is threatening legal action due to polls remaining open late in parts of the state on Tuesday Night, so hopefully the chaos following AP’s mistake (which allowed Foley to suggest he was the rightful victor) will not unfairly delegitimize Malloy’s victory.
Connecticut’s turnaround means that Democrats are now in a position to sweep all four of the gubernatorial races that remained too close to call on Wednesday morning: Connecticut, Oregon, Illinois, Minnesota.
Oregon is already settled: The Governor’s race was called for John Kitzhaber last night. Just as in 2008, Portland reported late, putting the Democrat on top. Kitzhaber will have to deal with a divided government, however: The state House will be deadlocked at 30-30 and the state Senate might be deadlocked 15-15, though it will be 16-14 for Democrats if an incumbent’s 200-vote lead holds.
Illinois is quite a comeback story: Governor Pat Quinn has extended his lead to 20,000 votes - and all precincts are in. Provisional ballots remain to be counted, but most of them are reportedly in the Chicago area rather than downstate so it’s very hard to see how they allow Bill Brady pulls ahead. The race is close enough for the Republican to ask for a recount, but 20,000 is a big margin to overcome.
The situation is similar in Minnesota: All precincts are now reporting, and Mark Dayton is clinging to a 9,000-vote lead. This is enough to trigger an automatic recount, but despite the parallels to the 2008 Senate race Dayton’s lead is 12 times larger than Norm Coleman’s was immediately after the election. The GOP can pursue its options, but Dayton supporters can breath easily.
With Oregon already under their belt, Democrats would limit the damage at the gubernatorial level if they hold on to their leads in and clinch Illinois, Minnesota and Connecticut. The GOP would then gain a net 5 governorships, which is certainly a large number but Republicans were hoping for gains approaching the 8-10 range. (That said, the GOP’s victory in Florida is a very big deal - and is by itself enough to offset any regret the party might have elsewhere.)
At the Senate level, two races remain have yet to be called: Washington and Alaska.
With ballots allowed to be postmarked on Election Day, Washington counts notoriously slowly. But Patty Murray currently leads by 28,000 votes and she is likely to keep that edge given the large number of ballots still to be counted in King County and given that she is more than meeting the benchmark she needed in that Democratic stronghold.
In Alaska, “write-in candidates” are leading Republican Joe Miller by 13,000 votes (41% to 34%), which seems like a big enough margin that Lisa Murkowski looks like the favorite going forward. Election officials will start going through write-in ballots next Wednesday, and Murkowski has to hope that no more than 13,000 of the 83,201 “write-in” ballots: (1) were cast for another write-in candidate, (2) misspelled her name so badly as to be invalidated.
If Murkowski prevails, four of the five most emblematic Tea Party candidates will have lost on Tuesday: Miller, Angle, Buck and O’Donnell. Only Rand Paul would have made it to the Senate. (You could argue Marco Rubio should count, but he really is far more of an establishment candidate than any of those I just mentioned.) However, the Tea Party scored a lot of juicy victories in House races, some of them in big upsets.
Republicans have already secured a net gain of 58 seats, but 10 House races are still uncalled: CA-11, CA-20, AZ-7, AZ-8, IL-8, KY-6, NY-25, TX-27, WA-2 and VA-11. (WA-9 was called for Democratic Rep. Adam Smith yesterday afternoon.) All are Democratic seats.
Democrats are currently trailing in 4:
- TX-27: Rep. Solomon Ortiz is trailing by 800 votes in TX-27 with all precincts reporting, and media reports do not suggest the existence of large number of absentee or provisional ballots.
- CA-20: Rep. Jim Costa is trailing by 17,000 1,700 with all precincts reporting, but a staggering number of provisional ballots remain to be counted - and most of them reportedly come from the counties that have favored Costa. KMPH reports that 98,000 provisional ballots have to be counted in Democratic Fresno and Kern Counties and just 500 in Republican Kings County! If those numbers are even remotely correct, Costa is favored to hold on.
- NY-25: After leading by about 6,000 votes early Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Dan Maffei suddenly found himself trailing by 600 votes once the final precincts reported from a conservative county. Thousands of absentee ballots remain to be counted and count still change the outlook, with some reports suggesting that more come from the Maffei-friendly county. The race remains too close to call.
- IL-8: In what would be the biggest upset of the year, Melissa Bean is trailing by 550 votes with all precincts reporting. But thousands of absentee ballots remain, and one paper calculates that Bean could pull it off if they break the way already counted absentee ballots do.
Democrats currently lead in 6:
- CA-11: With all precincts reporting, Rep. Jerry McNerney is clinging to a 121-lead. With thousands of absentee ballots still to be counted, this could go either way.
- AZ-7: Many provisional ballots remain, but it would be a surprise if Rep. Grijalva lost his 2% lead.
- AZ-8: Rep. Giffords leads by 2,000 votes but a huge number of provisional ballots remain to be counted in unpredictable Pima County (47,000, to be exact!). It will probably take a while before we get a call here.
- KY-6: Rep. Ben Chandler’s lead shrank to 600 votes, but all precincts are now reporting. We await the count of absentee ballots, but media reports suggest they should not be enough for Andy Barr to overtake Chandler’s lead.
- WA-2: Only 70% of ballots have been counted, so it’s far too early to tell whether Rep. Larsen can keep his current 500-vote lead.
- VA-11: With all ballots apparently counts, Rep. Gerry Connolly leads by slightly less than 1000 votes. We now move to a routine recanvass. Fimian could then ask for a recount, but if the recanvass doesn’t allow him to close the gap it will be hard to see Connolly going down.
That leaves us with down-ballot races, and while I am not going to go through all of them, two I am following are California’s Attorney General race and the New York state Senate.
In California, Democrat (and progressive-favorite) Kamala Harris seized a lead late on Tuesday night - but it has since been shrinking. With tens of thousands of absentee and provisional ballots remaining to be counted, she is up by about 8,000 votes. And in New York, the GOP will capture a 32-30 seat majority in the chamber if current leads hold, but three seats have yet to be called.
One last thing: Some of you might remember that back in the spring I was perplexed (to say the least) at the DSCC’s disdain towards Elaine Marshall. Given the political environment this fall, I certainly don’t think she could have won had she been treated differently. But I just wanted to point out that Marshall ended up running stronger than Robin Carnahan in Missouri, Paul Hodes in New Hampshire and Lee Fisher in Ohio.