Key Races Still Undecided; Trump Calls Fraud Without Evidence

Nov 10, 2018
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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Now we're going to hear about some of the other important races that have yet to be called. To do that, we have NPR's Domenico Montanaro.

Welcome back.

DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Hey there, Michel.

MARTIN: So we've just heard about what's happening in Florida. Can you tell us what's going on in Georgia, where Brian Kemp, the Republican, has already declared victory in the governor's race?

MONTANARO: Right. Brian Kemp is the secretary of state there, and he, as you said, has declared victory. He's up by some 60,000 votes in the race. He's - but the important thing is he's up just a little bit over the threshold that would take it to a runoff. He's got about 50.3 percent of the vote, and you have to be above 50 to avoid a runoff. So Stacey Abram's campaign and a slew of volunteers are out there making phone calls today trying to see if there are any people whose provisional ballots may not have been counted because they say they need to pick up about 25,000 votes to be able to force it to a runoff.

MARTIN: And there's an important Senate race in Arizona that has yet to be called. Tell us about that.

MONTANARO: That's right. And this is one where there's a lot of votes still to be counted. I mean, there's some little more than 300,000 votes, actually, still to be counted. That includes provisional ballots, early mail-in ballots, ballots that were dropped off on Election Day. And, right now, Kyrsten Sinema, the Democrat, has about a 20,000-vote lead. On election night, Martha McSally, the Republican, had a narrow edge. And then, as these ballots continued to be counted, Sinema took the lead. And there's all kinds of, you know, discussion on, you know, who might have the advantage or not. Frankly, it could probably go either way at this point, with a slight edge to Sinema. But we're not going to know for about a week.

MARTIN: And I understand that there are a few key House races still undecided at this point.

MONTANARO: Yeah.

MARTIN: What are the big ones that we're watching? And are we likely to find out the results anytime soon?

MONTANARO: Yeah. In a lot of elections, people fail to sort of recognize that this is not that abnormal. You know, especially in California where you have a lot of close races, and the ballots take a while to be counted, you wind up with elections that take a while. And we do have about half a dozen races still in California, four to six or so that are still very close. And there are about - there's slightly fewer than a dozen races nationwide. Right now, Democrats have an advantage of 31. They picked up 31 seats in the House, which is a big wave considering how these districts were drawn to favor Republicans. And they could wind up getting, you know, up to 37 seats, perhaps.

MARTIN: So the control of either chamber is not in doubt. It's just a question of what the margin is going to be...

MONTANARO: That's right.

MARTIN: Is that right?

MONTANARO: Absolutely.

MARTIN: And I also heard you say that this is not that unusual...

MONTANARO: Right.

MARTIN: ...To have a lot of races still up in the air. But, you know, having said that, in the middle of all of this, President Trump has been raising questions about legitimate vote counting in a few of these big races. In a tweet, he referred to the Arizona Senate race as electoral corruption. He called the vote-counting process in Florida a fraud. Is there any factual basis for these claims that we know of?

MONTANARO: No. They have presented no evidence for any of that. And when he says that, oh, votes have been found. Suddenly there's votes that have been found - it's like the first time he's been watching an election because frankly, yes. There - sure, you get vote totals on election night, on a Tuesday night. But there continue to be provisional ballots, overseas ballots, early mail-in ballots that are always counted. Now, when the election is not very close, then those don't make a huge difference. But when elections are tight, they do make a difference, and they are legitimate votes.

MARTIN: That's NPR's Domenico Montanaro.

Domenico, thank you.

MONTANARO: You're so welcome. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.