Congressional scrutiny: Why the PA didn’t call the House

Democratic control of the United States Senate was settled on Saturday when Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada won reelection, but the U.S. House majority is still in question. Let’s see where things stand.


It’s simple: neither party has yet reached the 218 seats needed to control the House.

The Associated Press has declared the winners of most contests, but a handful are exceptional. Heading into Sunday, Republicans had 211 seats to Democrats’ 204, leaving 20 undecided.

The AP does not make projections and will only declare a winner when it is determined that there is no scenario that would allow the candidates in the tail to close the gap. In certain contested races where a party or candidate has a history of consistent and convincing victories, the AP may use the results of AP VoteCast — a survey of American voters to find out why they voted the way they did — to confirm a candidate’s victory, even as soon as the polls close. But some races, as is the case again this year, can last days or even weeks.


California, the most populous state in the country, has more open ended contests than any other. A dozen races remain to be called, with millions of votes to count.

There are also close races in Colorado and Oregon, among others, some of which are tight enough that they could head for a recount.

In Alaska, where incumbent Democrat Mary Peltola won a special election this summer to fill an Open House seat held for decades by Republicans, a second round of vote tabulation could take place.

This is because Alaska has ranked choice vote in which voters rank candidates. If no one gets more than half of the votes cast by November 8, the person with the fewest votes is eliminated and the voters’ choices count as their second choice. The rounds continue until there are only two candidates left and whoever has the most votes wins.

Peltola was leading Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich in a race too early to call.


In 2020, former President Donald Trump challenged the voting results for President in states across the country. Those challenges failed in courtthough Trump continued to falsely insist the race was stolen.

So far, none of these kinds of objections have materialized.


Mike Catalini can be reached at


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