It seems as though it happens every election year. A race, usually out in the West (where the time difference is three hours from the East), is reported one way early, only to have late-reported returns either change the outcome or at least put in doubt who won.
This reporter, for one, has had this happen with regularity in covering elections and 2010 was no exception. Like other news outlets, HUMAN EVENTS reported the winner of the open race for California Attorney General to be Republican Steve Cooley, three-term District Attorney of Los Angeles County. With Democrat Jerry Brown leading the Democratic ticket as the nominee for governor, all the Democratic nominees for statewide offices were winning decisively, except attorney general candidate Kamala Harris, the San Francisco district attorney. She trailed Cooley, who appeared to be headed for the unique niche as the lone GOPer in any of the seven statewide offices.
But, now that is in question. With the counties completing their semi-official returns this weekend, Cooley trails Harris by 14,838 votes, or two-thirds of a percentage point. But, Cooley headquarters remains confident, as more than a million provisional and absentee ballots yet to be counted.
“The race for Attorney General will not be decided for at least another couple of weeks,” Cooley senior consultant Kevin Spillane told reporters yesterday, “and potentially could go until the official Certification of Vote deadline on December 3.”
This is not an unprecedented development. In 1990, there were similar unclear results from the first returns in the race for California attorney general. But, Republican Dan Lungren finally emerged on top when the absentee and provisional ballots were finally counted.