It could take days or weeks to get the official results of several midterm races in Southern California. LA County tallies up more votes than any local jurisdiction in the U.S., says Fernando Guerra, professor of political science at Loyola Marymount.
Currently, in the race for LA’s next mayor, real estate developer Rick Caruso is leading Congresswoman Karen Bass by about 12,000 votes, and only half a million ballots have been counted so far. That’s according to KCRW host Chery Glaser.
“I have no idea whether it's going to be Caruso or Bass,” says Guerra. “But partly, the reason that we don't know is that this is [an] election with many firsts. It’s the first mayoral election in an even year. It’s the first mayoral election using universal vote-by-mail. It's the first mayoral election with voting centers, etc. So there's nothing that we can look back at and see the pattern.”
In the sheriff’s race, former Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna is up 56% to 43%, and 1.2 million ballots have been counted so far, says Glaser.
“It would be very tough for Villanueva to come back and be able to make up the difference, especially given how he performed in the primary,” Guerra says. “My instinct is that this is a done race and Luna will end up winning everything. Every single thing would have to go right for Villanueva for him to come back and barely win by … a couple of hundred votes.”
California could help decide which party controls the U.S. House.
Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data, Inc., says Democrat Katie Porter could hold onto her lead in the race against Republican Scott Baugh in the 47th district (Long Beach), and the same goes for Democrat Mike Levin in his battle against Republican Brian Maryott in the 49th district (San Clemente).
However, he says Republican Michelle Steel will probably beat Democrat Jay Chen in the 45th district (Irvine).
Mitchell says the Democrat Will Rollins in the 41st district (Palm Springs) still leads incumbent Ken Calvert. But it’s still unclear how that race will pan out, due in part to how much ground Calvert is expected to gain — based on past elections — in the votes still to be counted.
“Ken Calvert was actually one of the leaders of Prop 8, the ban on gay marriage, and now he gets drawn into a district with one of the most gay and gay-friendly cities in Palm Springs,” Mitchell explains. “If Will Rollins does win, that would be one of the biggest democratic upsets in the country and put California on track to actually picking up a seat in what would otherwise be a Republican year.”