Fourth time is a charm, right? The lead in the California 13th Congressional District race changed for the fourth time this week. Democrat Adam Gray and Republican John Duarte have been exchanging leads in this close contest every few days since Election Day.
As of 7:22 p.m. Friday, Duarte is now in the lead 50.3% to 49.7%. With only 865 votes between them and thousands of ballots still to be counted, it’s still anybody’s contest.
As of Friday, Gray maintained his lead in Stanislaus County (53.52% to 46.48%), Merced County (52.20% to 47.80%) and San Joaquin County (53.61% to 46.39%). And Duarte maintained his lead in Madera County (58.40% to 41.60%) and Fresno County (55.12% to 44.88%). Duarte gained the most votes in Madera County since Tuesday.
Election results are updated throughout the canvass period as vote-by-mail ballots, provisional ballots, and other ballots are processed. Depending on the volume of these types of ballots, it may take up to 30 days for county elections officials to verify voter records and determine if ballots have been cast by eligible voters. The frequency of updated results vary county to county. County elections officials must report their final results to the Secretary of State by Dec. 9. The Secretary of State will compile the results and will then certify the results of the election by Dec. 16.
Both Duarte and Gray’s campaigns declined to comment for this story on Friday.
Gray’s campaign formed a committee to begin raising money to finance a possible recount. Those costs, which are paid to county election officials, fall on the campaign committee or voter who requested a recount. In California, the request for the recount may be filed by any voter within five days but not later than 5 p.m. on the fifth day, beginning on the 31st day after the election.
While Central Valley residents wait to see who will represent them in the newly formed 13th Congressional District, it became official on Wednesday that control over the U.S. House has switched to the Republicans.
More than a week after Election Day, Republicans secured the 218th seat needed to flip the House from Democratic control. The full scope of the party’s majority may not be clear for several more days — or weeks — as votes in competitive races are still being counted.
But they are on track to cobble together what could be the party's narrowest majority of the 21st century, rivaling 2001, when Republicans had just a nine-seat majority, 221-212 with two independents. That’s far short of the sweeping victory the GOP predicted going into this year’s midterm elections, when the party hoped to reset the agenda on Capitol Hill by capitalizing on economic challenges and Biden’s lagging popularity.
Instead, Democrats showed surprising resilience, holding on to moderate, suburban districts from Virginia to Minnesota and Kansas. The results could complicate House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s plans to become speaker as some conservative members have questioned whether to back him or have imposed conditions for their support.
McCarthy, R-Calif., celebrated his party having “officially flipped” the House on Twitter on Wednesday night, writing, “Americans are ready for a new direction, and House Republicans are ready to deliver.”
Current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., released a statement Wednesday night saying, “In the next Congress, House Democrats will continue to play a leading role in supporting President Biden’s agenda — with strong leverage over a scant Republican majority.”
Biden congratulated McCarthy, saying he is “ready to work with House Republicans to deliver results for working families.”
“Last week’s elections demonstrated the strength and resilience of American democracy. There was a strong rejection of election deniers, political violence, and intimidation,” Biden said in a statement. “There was an emphatic statement that, in America, the will of the people prevails.”
He added, that “the future is too promising to be trapped in political warfare."
Republicans will take control of key committees, giving them the ability to shape legislation and launch probes of Biden, his family and his administration. There’s particular interest in investigating the overseas business dealings of the president’s son Hunter Biden. Some of the most conservative lawmakers have raised the prospect of impeaching Biden, though that will be much harder for the party to accomplish with a tight majority.
Any legislation that emerges from the House could face steep odds in the Senate, where Democrats won the barest of majorities Saturday. Both parties are looking to a Dec. 6 Senate runoff in Georgia as a last chance to pad their ranks.
With such a potentially slim House majority, there’s also potential for legislative chaos. The dynamic essentially gives an individual member enormous sway over shaping what happens in the chamber. That could lead to particularly tricky circumstances for GOP leaders as they try to win support for must-pass measures that keep the government funded or raise the debt ceiling.
The GOP’s failure to notch more wins — they needed a net gain of five seats to take the majority — was especially surprising because the party went into the election benefiting from congressional maps that were redrawn by Republican legislatures. History was also on Republicans’ side: The party that holds the White House had lost congressional seats during virtually every new president’s first midterm of the modern era.
McCarthy won the nomination for House speaker on Tuesday, with a formal vote to come when the new Congress convenes in January.
“I'm proud to announce the era of one-party Democrat rule in Washington is over,” McCarthy said after winning the nomination.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.