Florida’s acrimonious battle for the U.S. Senate headed Thursday to a legally required hand recount after an initial review by ballot-counting machines showed Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson separated by less than 13,000 votes.
But the highly watched contest for governor between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum appeared to be over, with a machine recount showing DeSantis with a large enough advantage over Gillum to avoid a hand recount in that race.
Gillum, who conceded the contest on election night only to retract his concession later, said in a statement that “it is not over until every legally casted vote is counted.”
Democrat Gil Cisneros pulled ahead of Republican Young Kim in one of California’s undecided congressional races Thursday, an ominous sign for a GOP already reeling from its loss of four House seats in the state.
In updated vote counts released by the registrars for Orange and San Bernardino counties, Kim fell 941 votes behind Cisneros in the contest to succeed Republican Rep. Ed Royce in California’s 39th Congressional District. The 39th straddles Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties.
In another unresolved House race, Democrat Katie Porter pulled further ahead of Republican incumbent Mimi Walters in the 45th District, which includes Mission Viejo, Tustin, Irvine, Rancho Santa Margarita and Laguna Hills.
Unofficial Florida election results show that the governor's race seems to be settled after a machine recount but the U.S. Senate race is likely headed to a hand recount.
Republican Ron DeSantis is virtually assured of winning the nationally watched governor's race over Democrat Andrew Gillum. Florida finished a machine recount Thursday that showed Gillum without enough votes to force a manual recount.
Unofficial results posted on a state website show the margin between U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott is still thin enough to trigger a second review. State law requires a hand recount of races with a margin of 0.25 percentage point or less.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi insisted Thursday that she has the votes to become the chamber's speaker despite solid opposition from more than a dozen Democrats who want fresh leadership when the party takes control next year.
"I have overwhelming support in my caucus to be speaker of the House," the San Francisco lawmaker told reporters. "I happen to think at this point, I'm the best person for that."
A vote within the Democratic caucus is scheduled for Nov. 28. The full House votes on Jan. 3 to elect a new speaker.
Republican Rep. Jeff Denham has conceded to Democrat Josh Harder in the race to represent California’s 10th Congressional District in the San Joaquin Valley.
"It has been an absolute honor to serve our community and represent the Central Valley in Congress over the past eight years," the 51-year-old congressman said. "The enormity of the responsibility was never lost on me. My wife Sonia and I look forward to starting the next chapter of our lives."
Harder said he had spoken with Denham and the two were committed to a productive transition.
Deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel is leaving the White House, one day after First Lady Melania Trump's office issued an extraordinary statement calling for her dismissal.
No replacement was named. Aides said Ricardel clashed with the first lady's staff over her visit to Africa last month. Yet it is highly unusual for a first lady or her office to weigh in on personnel matters, especially the president's national security staff.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Ricardel would have a new role in the administration.
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy is running to take over next year’s shrunken caucus in closed-door elections that will set the tone for the new Congress.
The race for minority leader is McCarthy’s to lose Wednesday. But the California Republican, who is an ally of President Trump, must fend off a challenge from conservative Jim Jordan of Ohio. Jordan is a leader of the House Freedom Caucus.
The two encountered questions and finger-pointing during a private meeting with lawmakers Tuesday night as the GOP sorted through the midterm defeat that put Democrats in the majority next year.
First Lady Melania Trump’s office said she wants Mira Ricardel, the deputy national security advisor, ousted from the White House.
“It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House,” Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, said in a statement in response to a question about reports the first lady had sought Ricardel’s removal.
Ricardel is the top deputy to national security advisor John Bolton. She drew the first lady’s wrath after threatening to withhold National Security Council resources during Melania Trump’s trip to Africa last month unless Ricardel was included in her entourage, one person familiar with the matter said.