Nationwide, ten elections for the U.S. House of Representatives remain unresolved.
Ours is one of them. Jim Geraghty of National Review
Online identifies the margins in all ten.
When will we know the outcome? ABC News 10 reports:
In the 11th Congressional district … incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney and
Republican challenger David Harmer remained within barely more than 100 votes of
each other. With up to 30,000 absentee and provisional ballots still to be counted,
it could be weeks before a winner is declared.
Lisa Vorderbrueggen of the Contra Costa Times
provides more detail:
The outcome of the fiercely contested 11th Congressional District race remained
a nail-biter … tens of thousands of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots
have yet to be counted.
County election officials were scrambling … to begin the laborious process
of verifying and counting the large number of remaining vote-by-mail and provisional
ballots, a task that could take a week or longer.
Contra Costa Registrar of Voters Steve Weir estimated that his office has 100,000
outstanding ballots, including at least 12,500 in the 11th District. By comparison,
Contra Costa has counted roughly 227,000 ballots.
Santa Clara County reported roughly 135,000 uncounted ballots, and San Joaquin County
reported 35,000 ballots to process. Alameda County was still compiling its countywide
In a blog post, Vorderbrueggen explains why so many uncounted ballots remain:
Election officials typically stop counting vote-by-mail ballots a day or two before
Election Day in order to prepare for precinct operations. When the Election Day
tallies are done, they process the vote-by-mail ballots that arrived in the mail
over the weekend, Monday and Tuesday plus the VBMs dropped off at the polls on Election
With the growing numbers of VBM voters and their tendency to drop them off at the
polls, it drives up processing time. VBM ballots must be checked for valid signatures,
stripped from their envelopes, manually rolled to remove the tri-fold creases and
hand-fed into scanners. It takes a lot longer to count VBM ballots than the ballots
filled out at precincts, which are fed directly into optical scanners.
She also outlines why both campaigns express optimism:
For McNerney, it was clear that Election Day voters broke in the Democrat’s
direction. Harmer was leading by 3 or more percentage points after the first wave
of early vote-by-mail ballot counts were posted.
That gap slowly closed as Election Day counts emerged. If the trend continues as
election official [sic] count the remaining ballots, McNerney’s lead could
expand and he could keep his seat. Democrats poured wads of cash into anti-Harmer
ads in the 11th District in the final week, which probably spurred their voters
to show up at the polls.
On the other hand, Harmer did well among early VBM voters, and it is possible that
he could recover his equilibrium among the later VBM voters, particularly in San
Joaquin County. Harmer held a 5 percentage point lead in San Joaquin, where 53.9
percent of District 11 voters live.
As an aside, Carolyn Lochhead of the San Francisco
Chronicle notes that the anti-incumbent vote was split:
A third party spoiler, Tracy's David Christensen of the conservative American Independent
Party, has 8,809 or 5.1% … It would appear that Harmer would have won had
Christensen not been in the race.
Don’t be unduly concerned by short-term fluctuations in the vote totals. At
this point, it appears that counting will proceed more rapidly in the counties where
McNerney was stronger. We expect to more than make up the difference as counting
proceeds in our strongholds.
I’ll keep you posted as developments occur. Our objective remains to ensure
that every legitimate vote is accurately counted. Thank you for your continued encouragement
David Harmer is the Republican nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives from
California’s 11th District. His father, John Harmer, served as Lieutenant
Governor under Ronald Reagan. Early in his career, David took his expertise in constitutional
law to Pacific Legal Foundation, where he defended property rights and other freedoms.
David was also a Resident Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and his book on education
reform was published by the Cato Institute.
The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) has named David a “Young
Gun”—the top status in their candidate rating system. This top-target
designation assures that the 11th District will be a national congressional battleground.