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Key House and Senate races that have yet to be called

Although uncertainty over the presidential race’s outcome is the dominant political story, there are still important congressional contests to settle, as well. Amna Nawaz and Lisa Desjardins provide an update on electoral votes, key Senate races in Georgia and North Carolina and the shifting balance of power in the House of Representatives.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And now that we have heard the state updates, our Amna Nawaz and Lisa Desjardins are here to offer some critical context on where the race stands — Amna.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Thank you, Judy.

    It is a good chance to remind everybody where that race for 270 stands right now.

    Take a look at the totals for Mr. Biden, 264, for President Trump 214. And we should remind folks that total for Vice President Biden includes Arizona. If you take a look at Arizona right now, those 11 electoral votes went to him yesterday — rather, on Wednesday, in the early morning hours, when the AP called that race for Mr. Biden.

    Just a reminder, the "NewsHour" relies on the Associated Press for those calls. You may see that that call has not been made by other news outlets. And here's why. There's still about 450,000 votes outstanding there. The majority of them are over here in Maricopa County. That's Phoenix and the surrounding suburbs, another 30,000 or so in Pima County, just south of that.

    It is a very tight race. And that's why some outlets have not yet made that call. Now, the AP says they stand by their call. They say they're going to continue to monitor the vote count. The votes are still very much being counted. But they say the facts will lead the way.

    Lisa, this is obviously a race both camps are watching very closely.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Right.

    And just to mention, of course, Arizona also has a very hot Senate race, which the AP has called in favor of Democrat Mark Kelly. But speaking to sources with the McSally campaign, the Republican, Martha McSally, they're not giving up yet. She's not conceding.

    So we need to watch everything in this state closely.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Very closely. About 89 percent of the expected vote in so far. So we will continue to watch that.

    But there's another state we're looking for a call. That is the state of Pennsylvania.

    Lisa, 20 electoral votes at stake here.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Right.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    What is the latest?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Keystone State is key. You knew I would say it sometime this election season.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    You worked it in.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    I had to.

    (LAUGHTER)

    What's interesting about this red and blue map here, Amna, is that there are very few changes from 2016.

    One of them is up here on the New Jersey border right here. These two counties, actually, Monroe County red now, Northampton blue, this is a new pickup for the Democrats right here. These are very close counties.

    And one thing I want to say that is probably on most people's minds, these are two counties that have finished counting, including their mail-in vote. They expected to be finished today. They should be finished today.

    So, the big question is — I know Dan Bush was talking about this — where are all these votes that still are left to be counted? As he said, mostly, we know when they are, that they were early votes, absentee votes.

    But we do know that Philadelphia County is still counting. And we expect around the state, Allegheny over by you, Pittsburgh, they do have those 30,000 outstanding votes that they will get to on Friday that we talked about earlier.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Meanwhile, two days after Election Day, some Senate races still not yet called.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Right.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    When you look at the balance of power, just remind us what's at stake here.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    We have a tie right now, 48-48.

    And look at these white dots. There are four outstanding Senate races, one of them in the state of Alaska. That is seen as a race that will likely go Republican. But Alaska takes a good amount of time to count. So, let's not talk about Alaska for a second.

    The fate of the Senate really resides in those three other Senate races, two of those Senate races in Georgia. Let's go through where we are with those to remind people.

    This is the Kelly Loeffler race. She was the one appointed senator to fill a vacated seat this year. Look at this. This is a run-off. None of these candidates have received more than 50 percent of the vote, which is what's required in Georgia. So, we will have a run-off.

    Doug Collins, the congressman, will not make the run-off. Instead, Republican Kelly Loeffler will go up against Raphael Warnock, pastor from Atlanta. We will have this result in January.

    Let's look at the other Georgia race. Look at this. David Perdue, he is the incumbent Republican. Remember what I said, 50 percent? He's just there. He may fall below it, because, in Georgia, we understand the next — the votes coming in still are largely from Fulton County. That is in Atlanta.

    And I think that, when you look at Georgia, I want also talk about the suburban county right outside of Atlanta, Cobb County. This is why Jon Ossoff is in this race. When you talk about Cobb County, here we go, just — there we go — just outside of Atlanta, Clinton, Hillary Clinton, narrowly won this county.

    It's the second largest county in the state, and it's diversifying. This is — we're seeing massive growth in terms of minorities. It's about 51 percent right now white residents, Black residents about 28 percent, and Hispanics have really grown there.

    So this is why Democrats feel good about Georgia in the future. The question is, can they pick up this Senate race now?

  • Amna Nawaz:

    I believe there's a deeper look, if we want to see where people are voting in Cobb County.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Yes.

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Amna Nawaz:

    This is still very much…

    (CROSSTALK)

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    … some of the good graphics.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Yes. Yes, let's take a look at this now.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Here we go.

    But here's the deal. This is why Jon Ossoff is in the race still, 54 percent in this very heavily populated suburban county, Cobb County. And there's — we see Perdue lagging behind, clearly, up there, just in the north outside of Atlanta.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    A lot at stake in the Senate.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Yes.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    There's another key race as yet to be called. That's in the state of North Carolina.

    The Democrat Cal Cunningham has been challenging the Republican, first-term incumbent Thom Tillis.

    Lisa, bring us up to speed.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Right.

    This is another one that could be a squeaker. And it really depends on the amount of turnout that came out for Joe Biden vs. President Trump. And let's look at where the — what the map looks like in terms of who voted and how in North Carolina.

    Whereas, in Georgia, if you break it down, you saw more like red dots down near the bottom. Look at North Carolina. It's hard, I know, for viewers to see, but most of these counties have red and blue dots in them. This is a more purple state inside each county.

    And what Democrats have done here is, they have just outpaced Republicans by huge margins in the city. We see this all around the country. What we're doing now is, we're just waiting for some of those final votes to come in, 93 percent of the expected vote.

    These are the three races that will decide who determine — who will be in charge of the U.S. Senate. Mitch McConnell himself, the Republican leader, said just in the last day he's not sure who's going to win.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Profound implications there.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Yes.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    Also, two days later, we're still waiting on some House calls here.

    The vast majority of races, we should say, have been called.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Yes.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    As you reported yesterday, though, Lisa, this is not what Democrats wanted to see so far.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Right.

    Here, we have — this is what's been called so far, but it doesn't give the full picture. You see those white dots? About 37 how seats still to be determined, still out, to close to be called.

    But the fact is that what Democrats are facing right now, a loss of somewhere between — now it's upping from what I said yesterday, somewhere maybe 10, maybe 15. They have a majority of 17 seats right now. So, it looks like Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is facing a very small margin for her Democrats.

    My reporting is that there was quite somewhat of a contentious call among Democrats today. And talking to people who — Democrats who say what happened, they say that they really lost on a few issues, including, they believe, in Florida. They were really pegged with the idea that Democrats are too socialist, and that that cost them House seats.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    A lot of soul-searching in the Democratic Party right now, and a number of races still to be called.

    Lisa Desjardins, bringing us up to speed, thanks.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    You're welcome.

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