2018 midterms (cont.)

Democratic real estate entrepreneur Harley Rouda has narrowly unseated Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), apparently ending his 30 years representing California's 48th Congressional District, The Associated Press projected on Saturday. Rohrabacher, a 71-year-old former speechwriter for Ronald Reagan best known for his outspoken support for Russia and legal marijuana, has not conceded the race, but Rouda has declared victory. Rouda, a 65-year-old former Republican, was Rohrabacher's first serious challenger in one of the most conservative districts in Orange County, the home of Richard Nixon, John Wayne, and in many ways the modern conservative movement.

California's 48th District still has a 10-point Republican voter advantage, but Rohrabacher's strong alignment with President Trump and vociferous defense of Russian President Vladimir Putin did not play well in the district. Rohrabacher, a former Cold Warrior, has been nicknamed "Putin's favorite congressman," and fellow California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy was recorded saying in June 2016 that there are "two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump." (He later said he was joking.) "The Russian thing was ridiculous," Tony Quinn, demographer and California campaign analyst, tells the Los Angeles Times. "That didn't help him."

With Rohrabacher's loss, Democrats have flipped three of the six seats they targeted heavily, with the other three trending more Democratic with every vote update. At the very least, California Republicans will hold no more than 11 of California's 53 congressional seats. Democrats have already gained at least 32 seats, giving them a 227-198 majority in the next Congress, with 10 races still undecided. Peter Weber

November 9, 2018

On Friday, a judge in Arizona will hear a challenge from four local Republican parties who sued Wednesday night to limit the votes counted in Maricopa and Pima counties, the state's two biggest and most Democratic counties, or expand the ability of rural, Republican-leaning counties to count contested mail-in ballots, too. Thanks to votes counted mostly in Maricopa County, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema took a narrow lead in Arizona's still-unresolved Senate race.

Pima, Maricopa, and a handful of other Arizona counties allow voters to "cure" or resolve discrepancies between their on-file signatures and the ones on their ballot for five days after an election; other counties allow voters to "cure" their ballots only up until polls close on Election Day. The Yuma, Navajo, Apache, and Maricopa County Republican parties want the judge to stop Maricopa and Pima county election officials from contacting voters after Election Day or allow all counties too. On Thursday, Maricopa County officials said only about 5,600 ballots need such verification, The Associated Press reports, but every vote will count in this neck-and-neck race.

As of Thursday night, Sinema leads Republican Martha McSally by about 9,000 votes, out of 2.2 million cast. Maricopa County has about 345,000 ballots to count, a famously arduous and time-consuming process in Arizona, and about 127,000 are still to be counted elsewhere in the state. Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said his office, using a 1980s-era computer system, can tally only 75,000 votes a day, and it may not be finished until Nov. 15. "We know there's urgency out there, but we want to get it right, not quick," he said. Peter Weber

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