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Sixteen Midterm Races Are Still Up for Grabs by Democrats

A number of races still lack an official winner.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams addresses supporters at an election watch party on November 6, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia.

It’s been more than a week since Election Day, but a number of races still lack an official winner. Massive voter turnout, archaic voting machines, outdated state regulations and Republicans determined to undermine the process all created a perfect storm, in which votes haven’t been finalized — and, in some cases, were never counted in the first place.

Here’s where we stand on open and contested races:

There Are Still No Georgia or Florida Governors

Republican gubernatorial candidate and, conveniently enough, Secretary of State Brian Kemp declared himself the winner of the super tight Georgia election against Democrat Stacey Abrams soon after the polls closed — and he had a lot of reason to do so.

Kemp threw hundreds of thousands of primarily black voters off the voter roll. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he kept hundreds of voting machines sequestered in Democratic strongholds so they couldn’t be used on Election Day, creating long lines and sending voters home in frustration without casting ballots.

Kemp even refused to send absentee ballots to people who requested them, claimed they were sent and then refused to send them again when replacement ballots were demanded.

But despite all of this, the more votes are counted, the tighter the race becomes. Kemp is very close to falling below the 50 percent threshold he needs to actually secure the governor’s mansion and avoid a runoff. Acting Secretary of State Robyn Crittenden — still a Republican – says there are not enough outstanding votes to allow Abrams to pull close enough for the December runoff. But Abrams’ team maintains that there are — and that Crittenden’s office is underreporting their numbers.

Florida, meanwhile, will go to a machine recount, with Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum now close enough in final votes to trigger an automatic recount.

Senate Gains May Not Be What Republicans Hoped

Sure, the GOP may have expanded its majority in the Senate, but it may not be nearly as big of a win as Republicans thought. They flipped seats in Missouri, North Dakota and Indiana as they hoped, but they didn’t nab West Virginia, Ohio or Montana – and they lost their seat in Nevada to the Democrats.

On election night, the Republicans were certain that they would be keeping Arizona red and flipping the Senate seat in Florida, making their gains more significant. But now neither are a sure thing.

As the final votes are being tallied, it turns out that Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is actually the final winner, turning Republican Jeff Flake’s seat blue. Meanwhile, Florida’s Senate race is turning into a recount situation — one that will hopefully resolve the massive undervote in Broward County due to a faulty ballot design. Democrat Bill Nelson could keep his seat.

If all goes well, the GOP may gain one seat in the end, despite Democrats being forced to defend 26 seats this cycle.

The Mississippi Runoff

Speaking of gains that may not be as expected, did you know that there’s still a hope for a Senate pickup in Mississippi?

Because there were three candidates running in the election, the top two will face off on November 27. That means Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy are still vying for a seat, as they each took 41 percent on the last ballot.

Sure, there were more Republican ballots cast than Democratic ones last Tuesday, but runoffs are notoriously low voter affairs. Enough effort in the get-out-the-vote machine and, yes, there really could be a Democrat representing Mississippi come January.

Whose House? Our House!

Democrats flipped dozens of House seats last Tuesday, winning a new House majority come 2019. But almost a dozen races are still outstanding, which leave the potential for even bigger gains.

Of the eleven seats still awaiting official winners, all of which had Republican incumbents, Democrats are leading in four of them. Another three will be determined through ranked choice voting.