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It's Getting Ugly: Remaining House Races Devolve Into Lawsuits and Hand Recounts
As the days stretch on from election day, things are starting to get ugly in the remaining unconceded House races.
In Florida, the secretary of state has certified Republican Vern Buchanan as the winner of Rep. Katherine Harris's former seat over Democratic candidate Christine Jennings. Jennings and several organizations filed suit for a new election after 18,000 ballots turned up with no vote cast in the U.S. House race, far in excess of the 339 vote difference in the race. For more, check out this great Associated Press piece that details, among other things, how the electronic voting machines at the heart of the dispute were praised by Harris as a "model for the nation" back in 2001. Oh, and both campaigns are still raising money to defray the costs of the legal fight.
In North Carolina, Republican Rep. Robin Hayes is calling on Democratic challenger Larry Kissell to concede after the offical count and the machine recount both showed Hayes leading Kissell, albeit by less than one percent. Kissel, however, is taking the option allowed to him under state law in less-than-one-percent margins for a hand recount.
Finally, two races were decided on Tuesday when two Democratic challengers conceded to the Republican incumbents. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) fended off a challenge by Democrat Victoria Wells Wulsin by about 3,200 votes and Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) beat Democratic challenger Patricia Madrid by 875 votes.
This leaves three races:
- Ohio's last uncalled race is still a toss-up between incumbent Republican Rep. Deborah Pryce and Democratic challenger Mary Jo Kilroy.
- Incumbent Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-Texas) will face former Democratic Rep. Ciro D. Rodriguez in a runoff this month. The runoff is due to a court decision that threw out Bonilla's district, which was redrawn under a 2003 plan drawn up by former Rep. Tom DeLay. Bonilla failed to win the race outright and faces the runoff due to the primary elections being nullified as part of the court decision.
- Incumbent Rep. William Jefferson (D-La.) will face Democratic challenger Karen Carter in a runoff on December 9th. Under Louisiana's election system, the November elections are wide-open to all candidates and a runoff occurs if no one captures 50 percent of the vote.