'On knife's edge': Control of House could come down to CA, but path narrows for Democrats

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ByLiz Kreutz via KGO logo
Tuesday, November 15, 2022
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The race for control of the House is still up in the air, and control come down to some key congressional district races in California.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- With the race for control of the House of Representatives now down to the wire, all eyes are looking towards California.

Across the state, nearly four million ballots from the midterm election still need to be counted. Those votes are critical in House races that are still too close to call.

MORE: 2022 US election live updates, results, maps: Balance of power in Senate, House up in the air

"Nationally, I think everyone is on a knife's edge waiting for these final congressional districts to be decided," pollster Paul Mitchell, who is the vice president of Political Data Inc, told ABC7 News. "There are probably five seats that election watchers across the country are looking at to see whether or not something can happen in California that will help Democrats maintain the majority in the house."

As of Monday night, ABC reports Democrats had won 207 House seats and Republicans 215 -- just a few seats away from the 218 needed to get control of the House.

The outcome of a handful of house races in California could determine which party gets the majority.

Mitchell says the races he's watching most closely to see if Democrats can flip include California District 22 in the Central Valley between Republican incumbent David Valadao and Democrat Rudy Salas; District 27 in north Los Angeles County between Republican incumbent Mike Garcia and Democrat Christy Smith; and District 41 in Riverside County between Republican incumbent Ken Calvert and Democrat Will Rollins.

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For the first time, that district now includes left-leaning Palm Springs, which has made it harder for Calvert -- who campaigned against gay marriage in California -- to keep his seat.

"Even as this race has tightened, it's still a race that's within a couple percentage points," Mitchell said. "And the county has said that still about 100,000 ballots have to be counted."

In all of these races, Republicans are currently in the lead and Mitchell says the latest batch of ballots shows the path for Democrats to overcome those leads is becoming narrower.

"It seems to have probably closed the door on Democrats being able to take back the House," he said.

MORE: What to expect if Republicans take control of the House in 2022 midterm elections

Ultimately, Mitchell predicts Democrats won't pick up any new seats -- but they won't lose any either.

"Holding all the seats in California is somewhat of a victory for Democrats," he explained. "Even if Republicans hold the House, as they currently look like it will, it will be the difference having maybe a three-seat majority, or four-seat or five-seat majority, which for Kevin McCarthy will be a very big issue."

If Republicans do control the House, it is California Congressman Kevin McCarthy that's once again poised to become the Speaker of the House.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on Sunday, current Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she has no plans to leave congress but declined to say whether she'll seek a leadership position should Democrats eek out a win

"Right now, I've said I'm not making any comments until this election is finished," Pelosi said, "And we have a little more time to go."

Take a look at the latest stories and videos about the 2022 Midterm Elections here.

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