• LA-Sen: On Tuesday, Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu and Republican Bill Cassidy were forced into a Dec. 6 runoff as expected. However, if the jungle primary numbers are any indication, Landrieu is in a very, very, very bad spot.
Landrieu and the collection of minor Democrats took a combined 43 percent of the vote, while Cassidy, tea partier Rob Maness, and one Some Dude Republican took a total of 56 percent. In 2002 Landrieu won the runoff 52-48 after the GOP outvoted the Democrats 51-48 in the jungle primary, but that deficit was nowhere near a big as this year's. There's really no way to sugarcoat how awful Tuesday's result was and how ominous things look for December.
The DSCC seems to think that Landrieu is a lost cause, since they just canceled the ad buys they reserved for the runoff. The DSCC is saying that they want flexibility for week-to-week decisions, but it's incredibly hard to read anything good out of this move. Before Tuesday, national party groups could argue that they were only redirecting resources to other races, but now there are no other races.
Even though the Senate isn't at stake every seat is valuable: There's no way that both sides wouldn't be pouring everything they had into the race if they thought it was at all competitive. We'll see if the DSCC and their allies return in full force after all, but things looked very bleak here even before this move. In what passes for good news, the conservative Freedom Partners just launched a new ad against Landrieu. It's good to know at least someone still thinks this contest is worth spending money on. Republican groups still have a combined $7.2 million reserved here, and they've given no indication that they're canceling it yet.
Late Calls: On Thursday, Republican Paul Chabot conceded to Democrat Pete Aguilar in California's 31st District. This gives Democrats a rare, though expected, pickup. Also on Thursday, the race in Maryland's 6th District was called for Democratic Rep. John Delaney, who won an unexpectedly tight victory against Republican Dan Bongino.
Uncalled Races: Several races remain uncalled as of Thursday evening. We recently ran through them here and we have updates below for any contests where we have new details. You can check who has won each key race at our race tracker here, and you can also keep an eye on our continuously updated list of uncalled races. (We're relying on CNN's election results page for calls.)
: As of now, Republican Dan Sullivan leads Democratic Sen. Mark Begich by about 8,000 votes. There are as many as 50,000 absentees out
and Begich has not conceded.
The Alaska Dispatch News breaks down what we know about the ballots:
State elections officials said there were nearly 24,000 uncounted absentee and early votes, which won't be tallied until next week. There are also 13,804 absentee ballots voters had requested but not yet returned to the state, though it was unclear how many of those would ultimately end up being counted.
Then there are questioned ballots -- typically cast by Alaskans who voted at the wrong polling place. Elections officials won't know how many questioned ballots were cast until Thursday, but there were roughly 13,000 in the last midterm election in 2010.
To beat Sullivan, Begich would have to take 8,000 votes from Sullivan out of all the outstanding ballots -- which appear unlikely to top 50,000 total. Republicans pointed to the party affiliation of absentee voters, which wasn't substantially different from the party makeup of the general electorate.
Assuming there are 50,000 ballots, Begich would need to win them 58-42 to pull ahead. That's incredibly optimistic, especially since the actual pool of available votes will likely be smaller. Many of these ballots are from rural areas and should break for Begich, but there's less reason to think that questioned ballots will. Indeed, the Dispatch
estimates that if the 22,000 early and absentees voted like their districts did, Sullivan will gain.
• AK-Gov: As of now, independent Bill Walker leads Republican Gov. Sean Parnell by 3,165 votes. Neither side has declared victory or defeat, though Walker is making tentative transition plans: The new gubernatorial term is set to begin Dec. 1. Like the Senate race, there's a question of how many ballots are left and whom they'll favor. Assuming the magic number is 50,000 ballots, Parnell would need to win them by a little more than 53-47 to pull ahead. Walker did very well in rural Alaska and if a disproportionate number of ballots came from the area, which is quite possible, he should pick up more votes.
• AZ-02: After 16,000 Pima County ballots were counted Thursday, Republican Martha McSally's lead over Democratic Rep. Ron Barber was reduced to 363 votes. At the moment it's not clear how many ballots are left. According to the Tucson Weekly there are 14,000 absentee and 10,000 provisional ballots in all of Pima County, but it is not clear how many are in the district. There are also 3,222 uncounted ballots in Cochise County, which is entirely contained in the 2nd District. Without knowing how many votes are left it's hard to know who is favored to come out ahead, but if Barber does as well with the last batch of Pima ballots as he did on Thursday he has a good shot to pull off a narrow win.
• CA-07: On Thursday, Republican Doug Ose's lead over Democratic Rep. Ami Bera was down to 2,183 votes. An extra 17,000 votes were counted, taking the number of uncounted ballots from 60,000 to about 43,000. Bera would need to win these by about 52.5 to 47.5 to pull ahead. Bera took the last batch with 52.4 percent, so a Democratic win looks plausible but far from assured.
• CA-16: Some Dude Republican Johnny Tacherra currently leads Democratic Rep. Jim Costa by 736 votes, but there's good reason to think Costa pulls this out. Most of the remaining ballots are reportedly from Fresno County, where Costa won 62-38. If true, it won't take much to push Costa over the edge. This would be an embarrassingly narrow victory for the congressman, but a victory nonetheless.
• CA-17: Rep. Mike Honda currently leads fellow Democrat Ro Khanna by 3,930 votes. Khanna has not conceded but there's no reason to think that these ballots will disproportionately favor him, especially since Honda gained in the last count.
• CA-26: Democratic Rep. Julia Brownley still holds a 530-vote lead over Republican Jeff Gorell. There are about 43,000 votes left in Ventura County, which makes up the vast majority of the district. Since California Democrats almost always do better in late counted ballots, Brownley should be fine.
• CA-52: After trailing on Election Night, Democratic Rep. Scott Peters now holds a 861-vote lead over Republican Carl DeMaio. There are about 33,300 ballots left and as long as the remaining votes are anywhere near as disproportionately Democratic as late-counted ballots usually are in California, Peters should win. The next batch of votes is to be counted at 8 PM ET.
• NY-25: Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter now has a 651 vote lead over Republican Mark Assini, up from 582 votes on Election Night. Slaughter has declared victory but Assini has not conceded. There are reportedly only 1,200 to 1,300 absentees left, but an unknown number of affidavit ballots. Everything should be counted next Wednesday, but there don't appear to be enough votes left for Assini to make up the ground he needs.
• WA-04: Dan Newhouse leads fellow Republican Clint Didier 51-49, down from his 52-48 Election Night total. There are reportedly 40,000 votes left, many of which will be counted on Friday.
• VA-Sen, VT-Gov, CA-09: As of this writing there are no new developments in the remaining uncalled races, but the writing is on the wall in each. In Virginia, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner has a 17,000 vote lead over Republican Ed Gillespie with almost everything counted, and his lead is expected to remain intact. In California's 9th Democrat Rep. Jerry McNerney holds a 3-point lead and should be fine.
In Vermont, the race will not be officially decided until January: Because Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin did not secure a majority of the vote, the legislature will need to pick the winner. Shumlin has declared victory and while Republican Scott Milne won't concede, there isn't any doubt that the legislature will pick Shumlin since he was the top vote-getter. Barring a major surprise, there won't be any developments in this contest until January, and even that's just a formality.
• CT-Gov: One of the most miraculous escapes on Tuesday night came in Connecticut, where seemingly beleaguered Democratic Gov. Dan Malloy managed to pull out a 51-48 win in his rematch against Republican Tom Foley. What's particularly remarkable is how unabashedly progressive Malloy's agenda has been, something that David Dayen cataloged in a surprisingly lengthy series of tweets. Malloy's record hasn't been perfect, but Connecticut, despite its blue hue, is not among the most populist states. That makes Malloy's accomplishments stand out even more, and Dayen's list very much worth a read.
• FL-Gov: Perhaps the most heartbreaking loss for Democrats on Tuesday night came in Florida, where Democrat Charlie Crist fell just 1 point short of unseating Gov. Rick Scott, who prevailed by a narrow 48-47 tally. That was almost identical to Scott's margin in 2010, another GOP wave year, so it's not too surprising that at least one Democrat is already talking up 2018. Thanks to term limits, the governor's mansion will be open that year, a fact that Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn took note of Wednesday. Of course, this kind of super-early chatter seldom pans out, but hey, there it is.
• MA-Gov: Martha Coakley was one of very few Democrats to actually beat the polling averages on Tuesday night, but she still lost a heartbreaker to Republican Charlie Baker, 48 to 47. Why? It seems very probable that "United Independent" Party candidate Evan Falchuk cost Coakley dearly. Falchuk, running on a generally lefty-ish, No Labels-esque platform, took 3.3 percent of the vote (and also secured ballot access for his party for the next two years).
That's far more than Baker's margin, and what's more, Falchuk mostly did well in areas that otherwise supported Coakley, suggesting he took votes directly from her. Good going, dude. Baker will undoubtedly get right on all your priorities, like fighting climate change and instituting progressive taxation.
• MD-Gov: The biggest gubernatorial shocker on Tuesday took place in Maryland, where little-regarded Republican Larry Hogan stunned Democrat Anthony Brown with a 52-47 beat-down. (Interestingly, that's the exact same margin Hogan's final internal from WPA showed.) Vox's Matthew Yglesias delves into one possible explanation for this remarkable result: the so-called "rain tax." What the hell is that? It's how conservatives branded a tax that Democrats imposed on owners of impervious surfaces like driveways and parking lots, which don't absorb rainwater and instead generate runoff that becomes polluted, harming drinking water and the Chesapeake Bay.
Supporters of the measure liked to call it a "stormwater remediation fee," a phrase that only a think tank white paper author could have come up with. So you can see how opponents did a lot better by dubbing it the "rain tax," which allowed them to tap into conservative anger over a bunch of know-nothing liberal elites trying to tax the rain, for crying out loud! Republicans are pretty brilliant at churning out button-pushing phrases like this, which is just the latest in a long line of political winners like "death panels" and the venerable "death tax." Democrats, meanwhile, have "anthropogenic climate change" and, well, "stormwater remediation fees." Sigh.
• NC-Gov: This has to be fake, right? GOP Gov. Pat McCrory claims he hasn't decided whether to seek a second term in 2016, but it sounds like he just wants to avoid having to go into campaign mode this early. That's probably because his top potential Democratic opponent, state Attorney General Roy Cooper, is sounding unusually interested in running, and he said in September that he'd decide after this year's elections. Well, it's after.
• RI-Gov: Rhode Island hosted one of the few closely contested gubernatorial races where Democrats managed to survive, thanks to Gina Raimondo's 41-36 victory over Republican Allan Fung. But you might have noticed that the two-party vote total was unusually low. That's because of Moderate Party nominee Bob Healey, a perennial third-party candidate who spent all of $35 to take 21 percent of the vote. (Joked Healey: "[I]f we only spent $75, $80, we might've won the race.")
Healey's no run-of-the-mill gadfly, as his vote share attests. As we noted when he first got into the race (in late September!), he's previously had a lot of success running as an outsider and took double digits on multiple occasions on the "Cool Moose" line, which he founded.
And while it's often difficult to find evidence supporting this kind of observation, Raimondo may very well have hurt herself with rank-and-file liberals who are still angry over her pension reforms. Polling showed that union members actually favored Fung, and the state AFL-CIO couldn't muster enough support from member unions to endorse Raimondo. Of course, she still won, and Healey may have drawn votes from Fung, too. But it nevertheless looks like Raimondo got pretty lucky.
• WA-Gov, Sen: The race for 2016 officially began on Wednesday, though chatter and speculation in a variety races had, of course, begun even earlier. Here's one of the earliest to bite: GOP Rep. Dave Reichert says he might run for governor, or possibly Senate, in two years' time. Reichert's name often gets mentioned for higher office but so far he's never taken the plunge; however, PubliCola's unnamed (and unquoted) sources claim that he is indeed gearing up for a gubernatorial bid.
Democrats have held Washington's statehouse for decades now, but that streak has been kept alive thanks only to a series of narrow wins, including Jay Inslee's victory in 2012. The moderate-seeming Reichert would probably be the strongest choice Republicans could field, and an Elway Research poll a year ago found Inslee with an underwater job approval rating, but Reichert would still have to face daunting presidential-year turnout.
• CA-35: Freshman Democratic Rep. Gloria Negrete McLeod was elected to the House in an upset, took a look at Washington, and quickly decided she didn't like what she saw. Negrete McLeod gave up her safe seat to run for the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, but her gambit may not have worked out. Negrete McLeod currently trails Republican state Assemblyman Curt Hagman 52-48: This is California so late ballots usually help Democrats, but that's a pretty wide gap. The race to succeed Negrete McLeod was far less competitive, with Democratic state Sen. Norma Torres winning the primary and general without any trouble.
• LA-05: As expected, none of the many candidates in Tuesday's jungle primary took the majority they needed to win outright, and the contest will be decided in a Dec. 6 runoff. In a bit of a surprise, Republican Rep. Vance McAllister got nowhere close to even making the runoff, winning only 11 percent and taking only a distant fourth place.
McAllister defeated the Republican establishment's candidate in a 2013 special election, and he drew plenty of national media attention afterwards. However, he soon found himself in hot water after a video leaked of the married congressman kissing a now-former aide. McAllister initially announced his retirement but changed his mind and decided to run again.
Several Republicans entered the jungle primary against him and we speculated that they'd split the anti-McAllister vote enough to allow him to at least make it to the runoff. However, there just weren't nearly enough voters out there willing to send him back to Washington. It didn't help that the Club For Growth was spending against the relatively moderate McAllister and reminding voters of his ideological and personal apostasies.
Democratic Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo took first with 28 percent, but he'll have a tough time in December. Romney won this conservative North Louisiana seat 61-38, and Mayo is a very weak fundraiser. The next congressman from the area is almost certain to be Republican physician Ralph Abraham. Abraham edged out fellow Republican and Duck Dynasty family-member Zach Dasher (whom the Club for Growth was supporting) 23-22 to advance to the general. Abraham has never held office but he appeared in ads for Bobby Jindal during the 2007 gubernatorial campaign, so he's not exactly a political novice. While Dasher fell just short, he did impress plenty of people with his campaign and he's hinted he'll be on the ballot in North Louisiana again.
There was one notable candidate who did even worse than McAllister though: Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway took fifth with only 7 percent. Holloway has a pretty interesting electoral history for such an unsuccessful candidate. He was elected to the House on his third try in 1986 largely in a fluke, winning after several strong Democrats failed to make the runoff. He served three terms in the House before losing his seat to redistricting in 1992.
Since then Holloway has run for the House five times, including a 1994 run in Lafayette, far away from his home base: You could almost call him the Scott Brown of Louisiana for his obsession with returning to Congress no matter where. In 2003 he shook things up with a run for lieutenant governor, but badly lost to Democrat and current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu.
Perhaps most embarrassingly, Holloway ran for governor in 1991 as a sitting congressman and placed a distant fourth with only 5 percent, behind Democrat Edwin Edwards, Republican David Duke, and Republican Gov. Buddy Roemer respectively. In other words, Holloway got destroyed by a former governor few people wanted back, a former Grant Wizard of the KKK, and an unpopular party-switching incumbent. In comparison, Holloway's loss to Vance McAlister on Tuesday seems pretty respectable.
• LA-06: There was also a crowded jungle primary to succeed Bill Cassidy in this Baton Rouge area seat, but one Republican easily made it to the runoff. Garret Graves, who served as former Coastal Protection Authority chair in Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration before resigning to run, took second place with 27 percent, far ahead of third place finisher Paul Dietzel's 14 percent. Graves started out with little name recognition but was easily the race's best fundraiser, standing out in an otherwise lackluster field of candidates. State Rep. Lenar Whitney made plenty of news during the campaign but the so-called "Sarah Palin of the South" took just 7 percent, a distant fifth place.
Graves shouldn't have much trouble in December in this 66-32 Romney seat, but he will face a Democrat who won't struggle for name recognition at all. Legendary former Gov. and ex-con Edwin Edwards took first with 30 percent, and the runoff should at least be entertaining. Still, it's incredibly difficult to imagine Edwards returning to the House after a nearly 43-year absence, especially in a seat this red. The 35 percent Edwards and two Democrats won on Tuesday is barely any better than what Obama got here, and it's very tough to see the governor making up even more ground. To quote Edwards himself, Graves really only needs to do one thing to win Dec. 6: "Stay alive."
• American Samoa: How far did the GOP wave reach on Tuesday night? It even crashed over American Samoa, a tiny island in the South Pacific that's a 14-hour flight from Los Angeles (with a stop in Honolulu). Democrat Eni Faleomavaega, who has served as Samoa's non-voting delegate in the House since 1987, lost 42-31 to Republican Aumua Amata Radewagen. Faleomavaega, 71, had also suffered from recent health problems, and Radewagen is the daughter of the island's first popularly elected governor, so there were other issues at play, too, but still. Wow.
• Colorado State House, Senate: The Colorado legislature is still undecided. While it appears that Democrats have an edge in keeping their House majority and Republicans have an edge in seizing the Senate, nine races are still uncalled with tens of thousands of ballots (some of them provisional) left to be counted. To capture the Senate, Republicans need three of the five seats left; they are leading in three right now. To flip the House, Republicans need all four districts left; they currently lead in just three (by 51, 467 and 229 votes).
Taniel has put together a spreadsheet where you can follow which districts are still at stake, what each party needs, and where the count is at.
• Judicial: The Republican State Leadership Committee and Americans for Prosperity, the group associated with the Koch brothers, poured millions into judicial races this year, making contests than used to be sleepy affairs into all-out electoral and ideological battles. In most cases, Republican efforts to oust Democratic-leaning state Supreme Court justices appear to have fallen short.
In Illinois, it is a Republican justice who barely survived a campaign to oust him. The Chicago Tribune, reports that Justice Lloyd Karmeier's opponents, a group of trial lawyers, only started targeting him in late October. In Kansas, Democrats maintained a four to three majority on the Supreme Court as two justices survived retention votes. The campaign to oust them focused in part on their decision to overturn a death sentence.
In Michigan, the GOP won two of the three Supreme Court seats that were being disputed. In Montana, where things got so heated as to be covered in the New York Times on Sunday, Justice Mike Wheat survived with about 60 percent of the vote against a challenger. Back in July of last year, Democrats briefly floated Wheat's namefor U.S. Senate; given how badly things went for his party nationally, Wheat's probably very relieved that he did not take the plunge.
In North Carolina, three Democratic contenders were targeted by well-funded Republicans. The campaign changed once an ad aired claiming that Justice Robin Hudson was "not tough on child molesters." Hudson won on Tuesday, as did fellow Democrat Sam Ervin IV, who unseated an incumbent. Justice Cheri Beasley, the third targeted Democrat, was leading by 3,000 votes with all precincts reporting; the contest may go to a recount. Chief Justice Mark Martin turned back a challenge from a fellow Republican, and his party maintained a four to three majority overall.
Republicans did well in Supreme Court races in Ohio. Justice Judith French, who had been appointed by Republican Gov. John Kasich, won with 56 percent of the vote in a highly-disputed campaign. French drew attention in the final stretch of the campaign for saying that she would be the "backstop" for other Republican officials.
• KY-LG: Kentucky's implementation of Obamacare has been one of the biggest success stories in the nation (even if Alison Grimes didn't want to discuss it), so it's no surprise that Barack Obama has tapped Lt. Gov. Jerry Abramson to a federal post where he'll serve as Washington's liaison to state and local governments on matters of public health, infrastructure, and disaster preparedness. Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear has named former state Auditor Crit Luallen as Abramson's replacement; Luallen previously said she won't run for governor next year (when Beshear is termed out) and seemed to be on her way out of politics, so this may just be a placeholder role for her, but perhaps she's also getting her foot back in the door for something else.
• Oakland Mayor: Mayor Jean Quan has been unpopular during most of her four-year tenure, largely due to crime and her handling of the 2011 Occupy protests, and on Tuesday she lost her seat. Oakland uses a ranked-choice voting system and it can often take a while to find out who won, but not this time. Councilmember Libby Schaaf easily prevailed in the end, beating council colleague Rebecca Kaplan 63-37 in the 15th round of tabulations. Schaaf, who like pretty much every candidate in the contest is a Democrat, was the underdog for most of the race. However, she got critical late endorsements from Gov. Jerry Brown, whom she worked for when Brown served as mayor, and from Sen. Barbara Boxer.
• San Jose Mayor: Despite two polls showing him losing, Councilmember Sam Liccardo appears to have defeated Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese in Tuesday's race. Liccardo currently leads 51-49 and has declared victory, though Cortese has not conceded. More votes need to be counted but as Liccardo points out, his lead has been consistent the entire time. Both candidates are Democrats but Cortese is a labor ally, while Liccardo supports outgoing Mayor Chuck Reed's pension reforms.
• Wake County Commission: The Board of Commissioners in Wake County (home of Raleigh) was one of the big stakes in North Carolina on Tuesday. Republicans enjoyed a four to three majority dating back to 2010, and had controlled the Board for 10 of the past 12 years. So what happened? Democrats ousted all four Republican incumbents. They now have every seat on the Commission.
• Deaths: Former Democratic Rep. Lane Evans, who represented Illinois' 17th District from 1983 to 2007, died at the age of 63 on Wednesday due to complications from Parkinson's disease.
• Election Outlook: The election's over, but we opted for one more post about the Daily Kos Election Outlook model, asking "how'd we do?" We did pretty well, missing only one Senate race (NC), which every other prognosticator missed too, and a handful of gubernatorial races, which some models didn't even address. Maybe more importantly, our model fared ever-so-slightly the best when calculating Brier scores, which factor in not just correct predictions but level of confidence.
• New York: In an embarrassing development for New York's Working Families Party, which allowed itself to get snookered by bogus promises made by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, they've now fallen to the fifth slot on the ballot for the next four years—below the Green Party, which moved into fourth (just behind the Conservative Party) for the first time ever. After endorsing Cuomo, the WFP then had to whip supporters to vote for the most anti-progressive Democratic governor in the nation on their line in order to maintain ballot access (you need 50,000 in a gubernatorial race in order to do so).
That kept them from spending money on Democrats running for state Senate, an almost perfect outcome as far as Cuomo was concerned, especially since Republicans took an outright majority. And in another blow, Cuomo's bogus "Women's Equality Party," whose acronym, WEP, is just one tiny stroke from the WFP's, has also secured a ballot line for the next four years. In addition, Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino's even faker "Stop Common Core" Party looks like it will also do so. Sometimes, New York politics just feels like a sick joke. And when Cuomo's doing his routine, the joke's on us.
• NRSC, NRCC: With Republicans riding high after a smashing success on the Senate front Tuesday night, two senators are reportedly already looking to helm the NRSC: freshman Dean Heller of Nevada and Roger Wicker of Mississippi. The GOP of course also did very well in the House, so that seems to have quieted at least one of the sharks who were circling around NRCC chair Greg Walden: freshman Rep. Roger Williams of Texas now says he won't try to unseat the incumbent. However, Rep. Aaron Schock of Illinois may yet give it a go.
The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, with additional contributions from Jeff Singer, David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Taniel, and Dreaminonempty