Days after the election, outcome still uncertain in 10 House races

Saturday, November 11th 2006, 7:37 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Ten House races remain without winners after Tuesday's election, with Republican incumbents in tight contests to keep their seats and state officials not rushing to end the dispute.

Three days after the midterm elections, no winner had yet been declared in eight races and runoffs were scheduled in two others.

Rep. Deborah Pryce, a member of the House Republican leadership, is ahead in her central Ohio race by 3,536 votes. In the Columbus, Ohio-area, elections officials are delaying the count of more than 9,000 provisional ballots by one day so it doesn't disrupt the much-vaunted Michigan-Ohio State football game on Nov. 18.

Elections officials in that district will start counting Nov. 19.

Ohio Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt, who called Democratic Rep. John Murtha a coward, is ahead of her challenger by 2,862 votes. Rep. Barbara Cubin, who threatened to slap her wheelchair-bound Libertarian opponent after a debate, is ahead by fewer than a thousand votes in her Wyoming contest.

Of the eight uncalled races, only one _ Joe Courtney's bid against Republican Rep. Rob Simmons in Connecticut _ gives a Democratic challenger a lead. In that race, Simmons picked up one vote after the first of 65 town-level recounts was completed, narrowing the gap to 166 votes. Reviews were scheduled through Wednesday to check the other almost quarter million votes cast.

In Georgia, first-term Democratic Rep. John Barrow, facing a rematch against former Republican Rep. Max Burns, leads by almost 900 votes. The one incomplete precinct is voting for Barrow with a 65-35 margin.

In Washington state, the results in a historically slow-counting suburban Seattle district showed incumbent Republican Rep. Dave Reichert ahead of challenger Darcy Burner three days after poll-based voting ended. The vast majority of voters cast ballots by mail and they count as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday.

Heavy flooding in the district also forced the relocation of two polling places on Election Day.

Democrats can count on 230 seats in January _ including 28 formerly held by Republicans _ and they lead in two other races. Republicans have secured 196 seats and lead in seven others. If the current trends do not change, Democrats would have a 232-203 majority.

Other races that remain undecided include North Carolina Rep. Robin Hayes' campaign against Larry Kissell, separated by 449 votes; and New Mexico Rep. Heather Wilson's race, where Democrat Patricia Madrid trails by about 1,600 votes.

A runoff was scheduled in Louisiana between two Democrats _ incumbent Rep. William Jefferson and Karen Carter _ on Dec. 9. In Texas, Republican Rep. Henry Bonilla will face former Democratic Rep. Ciro Rodriguez in a yet-unscheduled runoff. The Texas secretary of state's office said the runoff would be sometime after Dec. 12.

In Florida, a recount is set to begin Wednesday in Rep. Katherine Harris' former district. Republican Vern Buchanan has a 373-vote lead and has declared victory over Democrat Christine Jennings. The Associated Press has declared Buchanan the winner.