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The 2018 midterm races that still aren’t over

We’re more than a week out from Election Day, and multiple Senate, House, and governor races still haven’t been called.

Democratic congressional candidate Katie Porter at a campaign event in October 2018. As of November 14, her race against Republican incumbent Rep. Mimi Walters has yet to be called.
Democratic congressional candidate Katie Porter at a campaign event in October 2018. As of November 14, her race against Republican incumbent Rep. Mimi Walters has yet to be called.
Mario Tama/Getty Images
Emily Stewart covers business and economics for Vox and writes the newsletter The Big Squeeze, examining the ways ordinary people are being squeezed under capitalism. Before joining Vox, she worked for TheStreet.

It’s been more than a week since the 2018 midterm elections took place, and we still don’t know how all of the races shook out.

Multiple seats in the House of Representatives haven’t yet been called, and a pair of Senate seats are up in the air, too. And then, of course, there’s all of the turmoil in Florida and Georgia.

The so-called “blue wave” many anticipated ahead of the November 6 elections has been slower rolling than expected, in part because of the high number of contests, particularly in Western states, and in part because counting votes takes time. Just on Tuesday evening, Democrat Josh Harder beat out four-term Republican Rep. Jeff Denham in California’s 10th Congressional District. And on Wednesday, Democrat Andy Kim defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur in New Jersey’s Third Congressional District. In January, there will be only one Republican member of Congress representing New Jersey. Elizabeth Warren protégée Katie Porter also officially defeated California incumbent Republican Rep. Mimi Walters on Wednesday.

You probably thought you’d be waking up on November 7 not knowing how all of the 2018 election results turned out; November 14, not so much. But here we are.

Here’s a list of the House, Senate, and gubernatorial races that have yet to be called.

The House seats

Seven House races are still too close to call.

California’s 39th Congressional District: Young Kim vs. Gil Cisneros

Republican Young Kim and Democrat Gil Cisneros are squaring off in California to replace incumbent Republican Rep. Ed Royce, who’s retiring. If Kim is declared the victor, she would be the first Korean-American woman elected to Congress in the United States. Kim’s lead over Cisneros has been narrowing as ballots are counted.

Georgia’s Seventh Congressional District: Rob Woodall vs. Carolyn Bourdeaux

Georgia State University professor Carolyn Bourdeaux’s race against Republican incumbent Rep. Rob Woodall is still ongoing as provisional and absentee ballots continue to be counted. Bourdeaux’s campaign asked the courts to intervene. The too-close-to-call contest could be headed for a recount if the margin between the two is less than 1 percent or potentially a runoff if neither gets a majority of the vote.

Maine’s Second Congressional District: Bruce Poliquin vs. Jared Golden

Two-term Republican incumbent Rep. Bruce Poliquin this week filed a lawsuit in a federal court trying to block Maine from tabulating ranked-choice voting ballots in determining the winner of the district he currently represents.

As NPR explains, Maine voters approved ranked-choice voting in 2016, by which voters rank candidates in order of preference. If a candidate wins the majority of votes after the first tabulation, he or she is declared the winner. But if there’s no majority, then voters’ second choice rankings are taken into account.

Because Poliquin and his Democratic challenger Jared Golden didn’t get a majority of the vote the first time ballots were counted, a retabulation is in order. That’s what Poliquin is trying to block.

New York’s 22nd Congressional District: Anthony Brindisi vs. Claudia Tenney

Incumbent Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney was first elected to the House in 2016 and ahead of Election Day was considered a weak incumbent against Democratic challenger and State Assembly member Anthony Brindisi. He was in Washington, DC, this week starting a two-week orientation for new members of Congress even though the race hasn’t yet been called, as absentee and affidavit ballots are still being counted.

New York’s 27th Congressional District: Chris Collins vs. Nate McMurray

Incumbent Republican Rep. Chris Collins, an early endorser of President Donald Trump, dropped his bid for reelection over the summer amid charges of insider trading. But then he reversed course because it was too late in the game for another Republican to be put on the ballot.

The race between Collins and Nate McMurray, his Democratic challenger, is still too close to call with absentee and affidavit ballots still being tabulated. Collins is still leading by a few thousand votes, but McMurray attended congressional orientation this week.

Texas’s 23rd Congressional District: Will Hurd vs. Gina Ortiz Jones

Democrat Gina Ortiz Jones is trying to unseat Republican Rep. Will Hurd in Texas’s 23rd Congressional District on the southwest border. Ortiz Jones is behind Hurd by just a few hundred votes and made a request for the deadline for provisional ballot counting in the district to be extended for 48 hours, which a judge denied. Hurd has already claimed victory, but if the race is close enough, Ortiz Jones could request a recount.

Utah’s Fourth Congressional District: Ben McAdams vs. Mia Love

Democrat Ben McAdams has a small lead over Republican incumbent Rep. Mia Love in Utah as votes continue to be counted, and the race is still too close to call.

President Trump took a swipe at Love during his post-election press conference last week, saying she’d done poorly because she hadn’t supported him enough. “I saw Mia Love, she would call me all the time to help her with a hostage situation, being held hostage in Venezuela,” Trump said. “But Mia Love gave me no love. And she lost. Too bad. Sorry about that, Mia.”

The Senate seats

The results of two Senate races are still up in the air.

Florida: Bill Nelson vs. Rick Scott

A recount in Florida is underway in the race between Democratic incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott. Because the margin between the pair was so close — a less than 0.5 percent lead for Scott — Florida law mandates an automatic machine recount. If the margin after that is less than 0.25 percent, then a hand recount will be next.

Florida’s recount has drawn national attention, with Republicans crying foul and claiming voter fraud and Democrats asking that every vote be counted. As Vox’s German Lopez points out, there’s no evidence of voter fraud in Florida, but some incompetence and lack of transparency have come to light. That Florida’s elections process is less than ideal isn’t a secret — problems also came to light in the 2000 presidential election.

One of Scott’s top campaign advisers in media interviews this week wouldn’t commit to Scott certifying the results of the Senate election if it turns out that he loses to Nelson. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has called for Scott to recuse himself from the recount process.

Mississippi: Cindy Hyde-Smith and Mike Espy

Mississippi’s US Senate race was never going to be decided on Election Day because of the state’s “jungle primary” election system. Under the scheme, every candidate runs in the first Election Day race in November, and if none gets more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters head to a runoff.

That’s what happened this time around, and so Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith will face Democrat Mike Espy on November 27. Hyde-Smith was appointed to the Senate this year to replace retiring incumbent Thad Cochran. As Vox’s Dylan Scott noted, Hyde-Smith appears to have an edge over Espy in two-way race polling, but Espy could potentially pull off an upset.

Both have their own baggage. Espy was acquitted of bribery charges in the 1990s, and that could still dog him. And Hyde-Smith made headlines just this week for making a joke on the campaign trail about “public hanging.” Mississippi has a deep history of lynching. Her campaign put out a statement saying that it was an “exaggerated expression of regard” and calling an attempt to turn it into a “negative connotation … ridiculous.” She has refused to apologize or comment further.

The governor’s races

Democratic gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams in Georgia and Andrew Gillum in Florida garnered national attention instead of Election Day. While it’s unlikely now that either will win their respective contests, their races still aren’t over as both continue to insist that every vote cast on November 6 be counted.

Florida: Andrew Gillum vs. Ron DeSantis

Democrat Andrew Gillum initially conceded to Republican Ron DeSantis after the election but has since reversed course. As ballots in Florida have continued to be counted and DeSantis’s lead over Gillum has shrunk, the Tallahassee mayor has shifted his attention to voting rights and demanding that Florida election officials count every vote.

Because the difference between his and DeSantis’s vote totals was so close, a machine recount was triggered. It’s possible, but unlikely, it will change the outcome of the election for Gillum, who trailed behind Nelson in votes.

Georgia: Stacey Abrams vs. Brian Kemp

Democrat Stacey Abrams continues to hold out hope for a recount or a runoff in Georgia and is refusing to concede to Republican Brian Kemp, who has already declared victory.

As Vox’s Tara Golshan, Li Zhou, and P.R. Lockhart explained, Abrams is hoping that as votes are counted, she can close the gap enough between her and Kemp to trigger a recount or perhaps a runoff. If neither candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote, there would be another contest on December 4.

Much of the battle in Georgia has been about voting rights and access. Kemp, who was until last week Georgia’s secretary of state and overseeing the election, employed some eyebrow-raising tactics around voting that some saw as efforts to keep people away from the polls. Abrams has said she’ll stay in the race until every vote gets counted.