Los Angeles Times

Fourth of the vote still to be counted

Until more results from the recall election are in, it will be difficult to make accurate insights into 2022 races.

- By Laura J. Nelson

About 74% of the votes cast in California’s recall election have been counted, a wide enough margin to show that Gov. Gavin Newsom easily beat back the attempts to oust him from office.

But not enough votes have been counted to run the conclusive analyses that political analysts are hungry for, including: At what levels did Latino voters and young people turn out? What happened in rural areas? And what do the results mean for California’s hotly contested U.S. House seats?

Out of the more than 9.1 million votes tabulated as of Wednesday, nearly 64% supported keeping Newsom in office. The Associated Press estimates that about 13 million people voted, meaning as many as 4 million ballots are still uncounted — making a granular analysis of voter behavior or demographi­cs almost impossible.

That hasn’t stopped analysts from trying, though. Political analysts in Washington are already disagreein­g over whether the recall results are a warning sign for California Republican­s or a sign that they could hold onto, or even add to, their U.S. House seats in the midterms next year.

Dave Wasserman, the U.S. House seat expert for the Cook Political Report, said that the recall is “on track to prevail in a handful of competitiv­e House districts,” including in Orange County.

Two of the four battlegrou­nd Congressio­nal seats that Republican­s flipped in California last year are in Orange County, where about 47% of counted ballots were in favor of the recall. How much stronger support was in some areas of the county — including districts won by Reps. Young Kim (RLa Habra) and Michelle Steel (R-Seal Beach) — is still being tabulated.

The recall failing by as much as 20 points statewide, Wasserman wrote on Twitter, could still be consistent with “an environmen­t in which Republican­s take back the House and Senate in 2022.”

“There are a lot more Democrats than Republican­s in California,” Wasserman said. But, he added, Republican­s don’t need to win in districts that favored Biden by 29 percentage points in order to “win back Congress in 2022.”

One Washington Post columnist said Kim should be “worried” based on the pattern from the recall. And the chairman of the Democratic Congressio­nal Campaign Committee said that the Republican Party’s message went “down in f lames” with California voters.

In early Orange County results, Newsom leads the recall by about 45,000 votes. But more than 200,000 votes still need to be tabulated, including at least 51,730 received by mail and almost 70,000 that were dropped in collection boxes, the Orange County registrar of voters said.

That makes an accurate analysis of voter behavior in the 39th and 48th congressio­nal districts difficult, too. More accurate estimates from each of California’s 58 counties will be reported to Secretary of State Shirley Weber on Thursday night, state officials said.

Nearly 71% of Los Angeles County voters whose ballots have been processed, or about 1.6 million voters, opted against the recall, state data show. Elections chief Dean Logan estimated that nearly 275,000 ballots still need to be processed.

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