It is now two weeks since election day and four Congressional seats are still undecided as votes are still being counted. Perhaps the most turbulent one is in Utah where Republican incumbent Mia Love is locked in a tight race with Democrat Ben McAdams. The lead kept switching as votes came in from various districts and the latest reversal has McAdams up by just 739 votes out of nearly 270,000 cast. He seems to feel confident enough that this lead will hold up to declare victory when the final votes are certified later today.
It seems ridiculous that the US cannot count election votes in a timely way.
Democrat Xochitl Torres Small is the apparent winner of a hotly contested House race for New Mexico’s 2nd House District, according to NBC News, defeating GOP candidate Yvette Herrell and flipping the previously Republican-held district blue.
Torres Small, a water rights lawyer, ran on expanding access to health care and increasing funding for education, workers and veterans.
The district’s Republican incumbent, Steve Pearce, lost the state’s gubernatorial election against Democrat Michelle Lujan Grisham.
Currently the totals stand at 232-199 in favor of Democrats in the House of Representatives, a gain for them of 37 seats.
Given that the Democrats gained seven governorships as well, the only upside for Donald Trump and the Republicans has been the gain in two seats in the US senate. But since the Democrats were defending 26 senate seats, many in strongly Republican states, while the Republicans were defending only nine, this is small comfort since the situation will be reversed in 2020 where it will be the Republicans defending most of the Senate seats that are up for grabs.
There is one other encouraging sign. In North Dakota, as part of their voter suppression efforts, Republicans made voter registration very difficult for Native Americans. The cruel irony of denying the vote to the original inhabitants of this country who had been the victims of genocide seemed to escape them. But the move so outraged local activists that they mounted a vigorous voter registration and get-out-the-vote movement that resulted in greater Native American voter turnout than in previous elections. Not only that, the person who sponsored the restrictive voter ID law in the state legislature lost his own seat to a Native American woman. The activists are vowing to keep up the momentum for the 2020 elections.
This is the kind of grassroots organizing that Democrats did not do when Obama was president and Obama himself never consolidated the young activists who were energized by his two campaigns nor did he build a lasting organization. Bernie Sanders has been relentlessly following up on his campaign to get more progressive policies and it has paid off in that things like the livable wage and Medicare for all are now issues that are becoming standard Democratic issues.
In politics, you have to be in it for the long haul.