It could be weeks before the results of the 11th Congressional District are known.
Tens of thousands of absentee ballots, many brought into polling places last Tuesday instead of being mailed, have yet to be counted in the counties the 11th District represents, including Alameda County and much of the Tri-Valley. The district spans three other counties: Contra Costa, Santa Clara and San Joaquin.
As of late Thursday, Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Pleasanton) leads his Republican challenger and San Ramon attorney David Harmer with 82,159 votes to 82,025, a dead-heat according to the Secretary of State's report at 7:25 p.m. Thursday. Each candidate has 47.5% of the total number of votes cast, according to the report, with American Independent candidate David Christensen receiving 8,811 votes, or 5% of the total cast.
It's those tens of thousands of uncounted "vote-by-mail" ballots that were carried in to polling places that will determine the winner.
Both McNerney's and Harmer's camps have asked supporters for more financial help if either side has to pay the cost of a recount, if necessary. Harmer's office also has issued a comment that the election results already "look suspicious," which could mean legal battles ahead to stretch out the final outcome for months.
The continuing uncertainty over who will represent the 11th District baffled many of McNerney's supporters who watched results on a television monitor election night showing a Democratic sweep in other California races. Democrat John Garamendi easily won re-election the nearby 10th Congressional District with 58% of the vote against 38.5% for his Republican challenger Gary Clift.
In the 13th Congressional District, which includes the far northwest side of Pleasanton, veteran Congressman Pete Stark (D-Fremont) received 86,660 votes, or 72% of the total votes cast in that election against Republican challenger Forest Baker's 34,469 votes, or 28%.