Could the GOP get 64 seats in the midterms?

Since Wednesday morning, we have operated from the firm numbers in Congressional races around the country that showed Republicans with a net gain of 60 seats — the best midterm for any party in 72 years.  A handful of races are yet to be decided, though, and that number could grow.  One race, in New York’s 1st CD, took a dramatic turn yesterday when a recanvass of the ballots cast resulted in a 3900-vote swing — and put a Republican challenger slightly ahead of the Democratic incumbent:

[T]wo sources who are familiar with the recanvassing of the voting machines in NY-1 tell me that GOPer Randy Altschuler, who’d been down several thousand votes to Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop is now up between 300 and 400 with the recanvass completed.

There’s over 9,000 absentee ballots to be counted starting next week, but the Republican had been down by 3,400. …

This is a pretty dramatic turn of events in a race in which even many Republicans privately thought Altschuler should have conceded earlier this week.

I noted earlier today that if NY-25 is won by GOPer Ann Marie Buerkle when the absentee ballots are finished, it will put the Republicans at six House seats captured here. Altschuler would be seven, and an astonishing feat for the national GOP.

This race will have to go to a recount.  If the initial count was almost 4,000 votes off, then nothing less than a hand recount of the paper ballots will give anyone confidence in the results.  Maggie Haberman reports that Bishop’s camp wants that done before absentee ballots start getting counted this week.  Meanwhile, New York may want to take a close look at their voting system to find out how their first official count missed the mark so widely.

That isn’t the only race where results won’t be known until after a recanvass and absentees are counted.  Republicans lead in three other races against Democratic incumbents, and in four other races Democratic incumbents have narrow leads that could be reversed by absentees.  If the GOP won all of these, their final net gain would be 68 seats, not 60, although it’s more likely they’ll just get the seats where they currently lead.

  • NY-25: Mentioned above, Buerkle has a 660-vote lead over first-termer Daniel Maffei in a D+3 district.  A win here would be a real coup for the GOP.
  • TX-27: Blake Farenthold has a lead of almost 800 votes over longtime incumbent Solomon Ortiz in a D+6 district.  Ballots are getting “found” here, but not in sufficient quantity to erode Farenthold’s lead.
  • IL-08: Joe Walsh, just an ordinary average guy (no, not the musician) leads three-term incumbent Democrat Melissa Bean by 553 votes in an R+1 district.
  • CA-20: Andy Vidak stunned three-termer Jim Costa in a D+5 district and has one of the larger leads among unsettled races at 1,091 votes.

The races where Democrats lead but are not settled:

  • CA-11: This district borders Nancy Pelosi’s, and for a while David Harmer led the vote count.  It now stands as a 441-vote lead for incumbent Democrat Jerry McNerney.  A third-party candidate took 5% of the vote in this race in an R+1 district, which may be huge in the end.
  • WA-2: This one is unlikely to change much, since the Democratic incumbent leads by almost 4,000 votes.  The only reason this one hasn’t been called is because it takes Washington several days to count all of its mail-in ballots.  This is progress, Washington?
  • KY-06: Republicans really wanted to beat Ben Chandler in this race, and Andy Barr came within 600 votes of doing so on Election Day.  The absentees could possibly swing this race, but it would take a lot to make it happen.
  • VA-11: Gerry Connolly leads by 920 votes over Keith Fimian, and absentee ballots and recanvassing will be critical.  That’s an even higher lead for the GOP to overcome than in KY-06, but it’s not impossible, either.

Update: TX-27, not TX-25.