The Senate is set, but some House races are still undecided

Another Florida in Florida and unsettled contests in Ohio, New Mexico and beyond.

Tim Grieve
November 10, 2006 3:40AM (UTC)

With concessions from Conrad Burns and George Allen today, the Republicans signaled that they don't have the stomach for "another Florida" in Montana or Virginia. That said, it's looks like they're stuck with "another Florida" in Florida -- in Katherine Harris' congressional district, no less.

Harris is neither the fixer nor the candidate this time around; no amount of counting, recounting, butterfly-balloting, chad-hanging or law-rewriting could possibly help her overcome the 22-point margin by which she lost to Bill Nelson Tuesday in the race for the U.S. Senate. But a recount could make the difference in the race to replace Harris as the representative for Florida's 13th Congressional District. Republican Vernon Buchanan came out of Election Night with a 368-vote lead over Democrat Christine Jennings. Since then, however, election officials have discovered what the Miami Herald calls a "stunning" number of "undervotes." On more than 18,000 ballots -- well, electronic ones, anyway -- voting machines say voters cast votes in some races but not in the Buchanan-Jennings race.


Local officials will begin a recount Monday. In the meantime, Florida Secretary of State Sue Cobb is sending a team to Sarasota County to investigate further.

The Buchanan-Jennings race isn't the only one where we might not have a final result for a while. Ohio Republican Reps. Jean Schmidt and Deborah Pryce have both declared themselves reelected in close races, but their Democratic challengers say they're not going anywhere until provisional ballots have been counted. Among other not-yet-decided races: We still don't know whether Patricia Madrid has defeated Heather Wilson in New Mexico.

While uncertainty over George Allen's plans in Virginia delayed -- albeit very slightly -- the Democrats' moves into the majority in the Senate, the lack of final results in Florida, Ohio, New Mexico and elsewhere means only that the Democrats don't know yet how large their House majority will be. That they will be in the majority isn't in doubt, a fact made clear by the fact that Steny Hoyer and Jack Murtha have already begun campaigning for the job of House majority leader.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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