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Ellen Morrissey

Ellen Morrissey is a staff writer at Ballotpedia. Contact us at editor@ballotpedia.org.

Anthony Brindisi (D) concedes in New York’s 22nd Congressional District election

Incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D) conceded the election to represent New York’s 22nd Congressional District on Feb. 8, 2021, to Claudia Tenney (R). His concession follows several months of legal challenges from Brindisi and Tenney over the validity of certain absentee and affidavit ballots cast in the Nov. 3, 2020, election.

Brindisi announced his concession hours after the New York Board of Elections voted to certify the results of the election. Tenney led by 109 votes.

In a statement, Brindisi said: “Today I congratulated Claudia Tenney and offered to make the transition process as smooth as possible on behalf of our community. […] It is time to close the book on this election and focus on building a better community and more united country for our children.”

Tenney responded to Brindisi’s Feb. 8 concession in a tweet: “I really appreciate Anthony’s call today and thank him for his service. He graciously offered to help ensure a smooth transition and I look forward to working with him over the coming days to complete that process on behalf of everyone in NY22.”

To read more about the legal proceedings in New York’s 22nd Congressional District, click here.



Election still undecided in New York’s 22nd Congressional District

Results in the Nov. 3 U.S. House election in New York’s 22nd Congressional District have not yet been certified. The latest vote count, completed on Dec. 30, showed former Rep. Claudia Tenney (R) with a 29-vote lead over incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D). This race was one of 56 U.S. House rematches from 2018, when Brindisi defeated Tenney 51% to 49%.

Litigation over the validity of certain absentee and affidavit ballots began the day following the election and is ongoing. Problems with mislaid ballots, missing documentation of ballot challenges, and errors in vote tabulation slowed the process.

Oswego County Supreme Court Justice Scott DelConte has not made a final ruling on these issues, and official results have not been certified. DelConte also asked both campaigns to file legal briefs by Jan. 14 on 2,418 voter registration applications submitted through the Department of Motor Vehicles that the county board of elections did not process before election day. These voters had the option to cast an affidavit ballot, but these ballots weren’t counted since it appeared the voters weren’t registered. At least 63 affidavit ballots from this group are being reviewed.

Final oral arguments on all court proceedings in the case are scheduled for Jan. 22.

Here are some other recent elections where the result was not confirmed until weeks after the elections:

  1. In 2018, the North Carolina Board of Elections did not certify the results in the 9th Congressional District race and voted unanimously to call for a new election on Feb. 21, 2019. Rep. Dan Bishop (R) won the special election on Sept. 10, 2019. 
  2. In the 2016 North Carolina governor’s race, incumbent Pat McCrory (R) conceded on Dec. 5, 2016, after a recount in Durham County verified that Roy Cooper (D) would remain ahead. 
  3. In 2014, Martha McSally (R) was declared the winner over incumbent Ron Barber (D) in Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District at the conclusion of a recount on Dec. 17, 2014.



Elections in New York’s 22nd and Iowa’s 2nd set to have narrower margins of victory than any 2018 Congressional race

As of December 9, the results of two U.S. House elections remain uncertain. The election in New York’s 22nd Congressional District is too close to call amid an ongoing legal challenge surrounding partial recounts. In Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District, Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R) was certified as the winner by state election officials as winning by a margin of six votes. Runner-up Rita Hart (D) announced she would contest the results before the U.S. House’s Administration Committee. Both elections are on track to be among the closest Congressional races in recent decades.

In 2018, 1,894 elections within Ballotpedia’s coverage scope were decided by margins of 10 percentage points or fewer, including primaries where candidates won election outright.

Broken down by level of office, 105 of these races were federal, 1,217 were state-level, and 572 were local.

Federal races in 2018 were decided by a smaller average margin-of-victory (MOV) than in any even-year elections since 2012. The narrowest MOV in 2018 was 0.12 percentage points in Florida’s U.S. Senate election.

At the state level, the narrowest MOV was 0.008 percentage points in the election for Kentucky House of Representatives District 13. Among local races within our coverage scope, the narrowest margin was 0.017 percentage points in the election for one of Maricopa County’s seats on the Central Arizona Water Conservation board.

There were 258 races decided by margins under one percentage point in 2018. This includes 20 races where the MOV was ten votes or fewer. Two races in 2018 were decided by a single vote: the election for District 1 of the Alaska House of Representatives and the election for District 13 of the Kentucky House of Representatives.

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President Donald Trump leads in endorsement win rates among Ballotpedia’s tracked influencers

During the 2020 election cycle, Ballotpedia tracked candidate endorsements from five noteworthy influencers: President Donald Trump (R), President-elect Joe Biden (D), former President Barack Obama (D), Vice President Mike Pence (R), and Senator Bernie Sanders (I). 

Obama issued the most endorsements in 2020 elections at 232, according to Ballotpedia’s count. Of these 232 endorsed candidates, 82 won, 115 lost, and 35 races were uncalled as of December 2nd. Not including uncalled races, 42% of Obama-endorsed candidates won their races.

We counted 181 endorsements that Trump issued during the 2020 elections, the third-highest among our tracked influencers. Of these candidates, 136 won, 40 lost, and five races were uncalled as of December 2nd. Not including uncalled races, 77% of Trump-endorsed candidates won their races.

Biden issued 50 endorsements in 2020. Twelve of these candidates won, 29 were defeated, and nine races were uncalled as of December 2nd. Not including uncalled races, 29% of Biden-endorsed candidates were elected to office.

We counted 202 endorsements that Sanders issued during the 2020 elections, the second-highest among our tracked influencers. Of these candidates, 125 won, 62 lost, and 15 races were uncalled as of December 2nd. Not including uncalled races, 67% of Sanders endorsed candidates won their elections.

At 10 endorsements issued in 2020 by Ballotpedia’s count, Pence endorsed the fewest candidates in 2020 among our tracked influencers. Seven of these candidates won and three were defeated, meaning Pence-endorsed candidates won 70% of the time.

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Kwanza Hall defeats Robert Franklin in Georgia’s 5th Congressional District special election runoff

Kwanza Hall (D) defeated Robert Franklin (D) in a special runoff election for Georgia’s 5th Congressional District on December 1, 2020. Hall received 54% of the vote to Franklin’s 46%. 

Hall will serve the remainder of John Lewis’ (D) congressional term through January 3, 2021. Lewis died on July 17, 2020. Since the runoff took place on December 1, 2020, Hall’s tenure in Congress will last 33 days. Nikema Williams (D) will be sworn in to represent the district in the 177th Congress. Williams won the November general election.

Hall and Franklin were the top-two finishers among a field of seven candidates in the September special general election. Hall received 32% of the vote and Franklin received 28%. The two candidates running in the 5th Congressional District’s regularly scheduled general election, Williams and Angela Stanton King (R), did not run in the special election.

Hall previously served on the Atlanta School Board from 2003 to 2006 and the Atlanta City Council from 2006 to 2017. Leading up to the election, he worked as a managing director at Entrepreneurial Endeavors.



Winners certified in Arizona Senate and Iowa’s 2nd, legal challenges developing in New York’s 22nd

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

A total of 470 seats in the U.S. Congress (35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats) were up for election on November 3, 2020, including two special elections for U.S. Senate. Below are recent developments in four battleground races—one for U.S. Senate and three for the U.S. House.

U.S. Senate special election in Arizona: The state of Arizona certified Mark Kelly’s (D) win over Sen. Martha McSally (R) on Nov. 30. Because this is a special election, the winner may be sworn in once the state certifies results. Kelly’s campaign announced that his swearing-in would take place at noon on December 2nd. He will fill the rest of the 2017-2022 term former Sen. John McCain (R) won in 2016.

California’s 21st Congressional District: On Nov. 27, the Associated Press projected that David Valadao (R) defeated incumbent TJ Cox (D). Unofficial results showed Valadao ahead by 1,754 votes. Valadao declared victory in the race on November 25, while Cox had not conceded as of November 30. The legal deadline for results certification in the district is December 3rd. 

Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District: On Nov. 28, Iowa completed a recount in the race between Rita Hart (D) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R). Hart requested a full recount on Nov. 13 when unofficial results showed Miller-Meeks leading by 47 votes. Following the recount, Miller-Meeks reportedly led by six votes out of more than 394,400 cast, making it the closest congressional race in the district since at least 1920. A state canvassing board was set to meet on Nov. 30 to certify the results.

New York’s 22nd Congressional District: The result in the race between incumbent Anthony Brindisi (D) and Claudia Tenney remains too close to call. Brindisi held an apparent 12-vote lead before the Thanksgiving holiday. On Nov. 30, Tenney’s campaign said correction of an error in Herkimer County gave her a 13-vote lead. There are more than 2,000 outstanding disputed absentee or affidavit ballots, and the state Supreme Court is expected to rule on their fate.

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Donald Trump wins 20 states with trifectas, Joe Biden wins 18

After the 2020 elections, Republicans had 23 trifectas, Democrats had 15 trifectas, and 11 states had divided governments. Trifecta status in Alaska is pending. A trifecta occurs when one political party holds the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the state legislature.

Two divided government states gained Republican trifecta status following the 2020 elections. Joe Biden (D) won New Hampshire, which gained a Republican trifecta when Republicans won majorities in the state legislature. Donald Trump (R) won Montana, which gained a Republican trifecta when Greg Gianforte (R) won the governorship.

Besides New Hampshire, Biden also carried the Republican trifecta states of Arizona and Georgia. Republicans have had a trifecta in Arizona since 2009 and in Georgia since 2005.

In total, Trump won 20 Republican trifectas and Biden won three. Biden won the statewide vote in all 15 Democratic trifecta states.

Biden won three states Donald Trump (R) won in 2016 that now have divided governments. Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania all went to Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020. All three states previously had Republican trifectas; Michigan’s and Wisconsin’s were broken in the 2018 elections, while Pennsylvania’s was broken in the 2014 election.

Biden also won the presidential vote in four other divided government states: Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Vermont. Hillary Clinton (D) won these states in 2016. 

Trump won four divided government states that he also won in 2016: Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and North Carolina. These states all gained divided trifecta status after electing Democratic governors. Louisiana elected a Democratic governor in 2015, followed by North Carolina in 2016, Kansas in 2018, and Kentucky in 2019.



Legislative control of redistricting changed in New Hampshire, Vermont following Nov. 3 elections

Following the 2020 elections, two states saw changes to the partisan makeup of their state legislatures that could affect redistricting, which is set to begin in 2021 following the publication of the U.S. Census.

Republicans in New Hampshire gained control of the Congressional and state legislative redistricting process after the 2020 elections. Republicans won new majorities in both chambers of the state legislature, forming a Republican state government trifecta with Gov. Chris Sununu (R). New Hampshire’s legislature will draw Congressional and state legislative district lines in 2021, and they are subject to a possible gubernatorial veto.

Vermont’s redistricting process will fall under divided party control in 2021.

Heading into the election, Democrats and third-party representatives who caucus with Democrats held supermajorities in both chambers of the state legislature. This coalition lost its supermajority status in the state House. The Democratic-majority legislature will create redistricting plans in 2021, but will not have the two-thirds supermajority votes in each chamber necessary to override a possible veto from Republican Governor Phil Scott.

Thirty-four states task their legislatures with Congressional redistricting (not including states with a single at-large U.S. House district), and 35 with state legislative redistricting.

Republican legislatures will control 20 Congressional redistricting processes and 20 state legislative redistricting processes. Democratic legislatures will control 10 Congressional redistricting processes and 11 state legislative redistricting processes.

Four Congressional redistricting and state legislative redistricting processes, respectively, are under divided party control. These include Minnesota, where Republicans maintained control of the state Senate and Democrats maintained control of the state House. Other states—like Louisiana, Wisconsin, Vermont (state legislative only), and Pennsylvania (Congressional only)—have single-party majorities in the legislature and a governor of another party. Vermont has a Democratic legislature and a Republican governor, while the other three states have a Republican legislature and a Democratic governor.

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Burgess Owens defeats incumbent Ben McAdams in Utah’s 4th Congressional District

Burgess Owens (R) defeated incumbent Rep. Ben McAdams (D) and John Molnar (L) in Utah’s 4th Congressional District. 

McAdams was first elected in 2018, defeating incumbent Mia Love (R) 50.1% to 49.9%—a margin of 694 votes. His 2018 election made the 4th District one of 30 House Districts that voted for Donald Trump (R) in 2016 and that a Democrat represented in 2020.

Owens played professional football with the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders, including as part of the Raiders’ 1981 Super Bowl Championship team. Owens later founded Second Chance 4 Youth, a nonprofit supporting incarcerated juveniles.

Heading into the election, Democrats had a 232-197 majority in the House. Democrats were projected to maintain their majority after the 2020 elections. We’ve called 421 races so far. Democrats have won 213 seats and Republicans have won 203. So far, 13 seats have changed party hands. Republicans won nine seats currently held by Democrats and one held by a Libertarian. Democrats won three seats held by Republicans. 



Van Duyne declared winner in Texas’ 24th Congressional District

Beth Van Duyne (R) defeated Candace Valenzuela (D) and three other candidates in the general election for Texas’ 24th Congressional District. Incumbent Rep. Kenny Marchant (R), who was first elected in 2004, did not run for re-election.

Van Duyne worked as a regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Trump administration. She was the Mayor of Irving from 2011-2017.

Heading into the election, Democrats had a 232-197 majority in the House. Republicans need to win a net 21 seats to win control of the chamber.

Outlets have called 415 races so far. Democrats won 215 seats and Republicans won 200. So far, 11 seats have changed party hands. Republicans won seven seats currently held by Democrats and one held by a Libertarian. Democrats won three seats held by Republicans.