New poll, recount loom in two states
Elections in Georgia, Florida and Arizona remained unresolved two days after the vote, with the prospect of legal challenges, recounts and ballot reviews setting the stage for possible weeks of uncertainty.
The still-undecided races will not tip the balance in either chamber of congress, but include contests in parts of the country important to the futures of both parties and potentially to Donald Trump’s re-election chances in two years.
In Georgia, where Republican Brian Kemp declared victory in the governor’s contest on a narrow lead, campaign officials for Democrat Stacey Abrams yesterday vowed to pursue litigation to ensure all votes are counted. In Florida’s US Senate race, a lawyer for Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson said a recount could still deliver him a victory despite a slim lead for Republican Rick Scott.
The Florida governor’s race between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum also appeared headed for an automatic recount, after Mr DeSantis’ lead narrowed yesterday, despite Mr Gillum having conceded.
The hotly contested US Senate race in Arizona between two congresswomen, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally, appeared days away from a final call, with hundreds of thousands of ballots yet to be tallied and Ms McSally holding a small edge.
Democrats on Wednesday won their first majority in the House of Representatives since 2010, while Republicans appeared likely to expand their two-seat advantage in the US Senate. Another cluster of races in the lower house where votes are still being finalised could add to the Democrats’ new majority, strengthening their hand as they seek to counter Mr Trump’s policies.
Republican Representative Karen Handel conceded defeat to Democrat Lucy McBath, a guncontrol advocate, in a suburban Atlanta district, while Democrats also picked up two Republican districts in Washington state and New Mexico.
Democrats have now flipped 32 seats — nine more than they needed to take over the house — with seven Republican-held districts still too close to call, including four in California, where many ballots are yet to be counted.
In Georgia, Ms Abrams is vying to become the first black woman elected to serve as governor of a US state. The contest came under national scrutiny because of Mr Kemp’s role as the state’s top election official. Voting rights groups and Democrats accused the Republican of using his position to suppress minority votes, an allegation he denied. Mr Kemp said yesterday he had resigned as Georgia’s secretary of state, saying the move would ensure “public confidence” in the final results.
The Abrams camp said that there were enough uncounted ballots to force a run-off. Under state law, if no candidate reaches 50 per cent of the vote, the top two finishers advance to a second vote in December. They were to file the first of a wave of legal actions on behalf of voters in one county who had difficulty voting absentee.