Two organizational announcements were made this morning in Washington. Nancy Pelosi will be retaining her position as leader of the Democrats in the House of Representatives. There had been speculation that she would be pushed aside because the Democrats did not regain control of the House, but she has been a very effective leader at both fund raising and herding cats in the House.
Maine’s newly elected Independent Senator Angus King announced that he would be caucusing with the Democrats. He cited the fact that there are more opportunities for influencing policy with the majority party and the conversations he had with Independents Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who assured him that the Democrats are not fanatical about party loyalty and would be comfortable with King following the wishes of his constituents and his own conscience. This brings the Democratic majority in the Senate to 55 votes, not enough to override the existing filibuster threshold of 60 votes, but enough to carry a vote to rewrite those filibuster rules, as Harry Reid has promised to do. If Reid changes the filibuster to remove that 60 vote threshold, a majority of 55 will carry any Democratic Party bills.
The Democrats are gaining in the vote counts, even though one of them was conceded on election night. Richard Carmona conceded the race to Jeff Flake on Tuesday, but the additional votes have narrowed Carmona’s lead to the point where the race may flip in his favor. Ron Barber is still leading Martha McSally to retain his seat. Arizona is supposed to finish counting their votes by midnight on Friday, but with over a quarter million votes remaining to be counted, that may not happen. If the Senate race flips, it will increase the Democrats majority in the Senate to 56.
Two races in California have not been decided yet, Democrat Ami Bera vs. Republican Dan Lungren and Democrat Scott Peters vs. Republican Brian Bilbray. The Democrat is leading in both.
And, of course, there’s that little temper tantrum in Florida. Alan West is still contesting the results in the race against Patrick Murphy for West’s House seat, even though Murphy’s lead exceeds Florida’s trigger for a recount.