California Republicans lost two House seats in Tuesday’s midterm election and could surrender more as tens of thousands of ballots are counted in four other contests that remain too close to call.
The party has an exceedingly small chance of holding the seats of Reps. Dana Rohrabacher and Jeff Denham, historical voting patterns suggest. Two other Republicans, Rep. Mimi Walters and Young Kim of Fullerton, hold thin leads over their opponents that could also vanish.
The reason is simple: Early voters, often older white Californians who start mailing in their ballots weeks before election day, lean Republican, and later voters, many of them young and minority, tend to prefer Democrats.
With extremely rare exceptions, close races in California shift in Democrats’ favor — typically by 2 percentage points— as the later ballots are counted, according to Political Data, a firm that tracks votes in California.
“This is as dependable as the tides,” said Paul Mitchell, the firm’s vice president.
A huge share of the ballots — perhaps 40% — remain uncounted, largely due to Californians’ increasing preference to vote by mail. By law, ballots postmarked by election day and received by Friday must be tabulated.
Latest update on uncounted ballots in California— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) November 9, 2018
Total Uncounted Ballots: 4,488,707
Uncounted Ballots In Orange County: 419,956
Rep. Mimi Walters (GOP): 99,639
Katie Porter (DEM: 95,602
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (GOP): 93,503
Harley Rouda (DEM): 98,259