A few days ago, my colleague Mary Chastain noted that incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Garcia held his CA-27 district seat with a victory over Democrat challenger Christy Smith, thereby giving the Republicans the 218 majority in the House of Representatives.
Now, perhaps Legal Insurrection’s friends will give some props to those of us independent conservatives who live in California. By remaining to vote in these districts, we now have a Pelosi-free House speakership. God willing, it will remain that way.
However, I would like to note that California is still counting its harvested ballots. At this point, the tally is still coming in for the CA-3 district race, with Republican Kevin Kiley.
Kevin Kiley remains ahead of Kermit Jones for the 3rd District congressional seat, and has been ahead all week. Yet the race remains one of the few in the nation where no winner has been declared.
A big reason is that, as of Tuesday, 105,000 ballots in Placer County, the district’s largest county, have yet to be counted.
…A big reason for the deliberate count in Placer County is that most of its voters voted by mail. Just over 16,000 people voted in person on Election Day. The county is not certain of the total vote by mail, since some ballots may still come in from other counties.
In fact, the Golden State is just getting started counting some of those late-arriving ballots that have just been received (as long as they were post marked by November 8th). The issues involving Kern County’s CA-21 District race with Republican incumbent David Valadao is instructive.
The resources available to count ballots also vary widely by jurisdiction. In Kern County, where Valadao is defending his seat in a close contest with Democratic state Assemblyman Rudy Salas, Grose noted, “They only have one ballot counting machine. That’s a funding and resource choice. They should probably have more than one ballot counting machine.”
The counting took so long in Valadao’s 2018 race against Democrat TJ Cox that it was the last uncalled House race in the country. Cox narrowly unseated Valadao that year before the Republican won a rematch in 2020. (This cycle, Kern County Clerk Mary Bedard told KGET in Bakersfield that it could take weeks to count the remaining 70,000 ballots in that county, in part because the county has just one sorter machine).
The processing of each mail ballot in California is labor intensive, in part because there are many safeguards built into the process. Once county election officials receive the ballots, they must confirm that the voter has not already voted, verify their signature on the ballot envelope, remove the ballot from the return envelope, then tally the votes.
There are also additional tranches of ballots that take even more time to process, including provisional ballots, ballots from voters who took advantage of same-day voter registration and damaged ballots that couldn’t be read by machines.
In a nutshell: California’s independent conservatives made the Democrats spend money and resources in this state, which likely will amount to a draw when the final votes are tallied.
In Congress, after months of campaigning and more than $340 million spent, it appears that California Democrats and Republicans fought themselves to a standstill, with neither side unseating any of the opposing party’s vulnerable incumbents. That includes Orange County’s Katie Porter and San Diego’s Mike Levin on the Democratic side, as well as Southern California Republicans Mike Garcia, Michelle Steel, Young Kim and Ken Calvert. All will be returning to Congress.
All of that adds up to a big, monumentally expensive near wash. Republicans currently have 11 U.S. House seats in California. After this election, they’re on track to have 12, though the Modesto contest between Democratic Assemblymember Adam Gray and Republican farmer John Duarte is still too close to call.
Hopefully, the Republicans will do something useful as the majority party in the House of Representatives. Then, we will really see how much everyone needs to thank California’s conservatives.DONATE
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