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Is The Election Over Yet?

The Republican candidate for Arizona's 2nd Congressional District, Martha McSally, speaks at a news conference on Nov. 5, the morning after the election. McSally's race against Democrat Ron Barber is so close it triggered a recount. (AP)

The election is over, right? Republicans gained control of the U.S. Senate and padded their majority in the House.

So the big drama of the campaign may have subsided, but there is still a handful of congressional contests up in the air.

There are runoff elections scheduled. A couple of races that are still too close to call. And at least one official recount coming.

U.S. Senate Races

In Louisiana — a place where politics are always interesting — three-term Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu finds herself in a runoff against Republican congressman Bill Cassidy, because both failed to get more than the 50 percent required to claim victory last Tuesday.

Even though control of the Senate doesn't hang on the outcome, their battle now goes into an extra month of overtime.

The TV attack ads are back too. The Landrieu campaign introduced a new one this week, as did the National Republican Senatorial Committee on behalf of the challenger.

The other Senate seat that's been undecided is in Alaska, where incumbent Democrat Mark Begich faced Republican Dan Sullivan. The Associated Press has called the race for Sullivan. But Begich hasn't conceded.

On Capitol Hill Wednesday, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell posed with 10 new GOP senators-elect. He's looking for the number of newcomers to increase. "We're excited to have a great bunch here and we hope they're going to be joined by Bill Cassidy and Dan Sullivan shortly," he said. Sullivan, having claimed victory, has since flown to D.C. to begin new-member orientation.

House Races

There are two races in Louisiana, Congressional Districts 5 and 6, where runoffs will decide the winner. The latter involves Democrat Edwin Edwards, 87, who has a resume that includes Congress, the governorship — and eight years in federal prison for corruption.

In Arizona, the battle for the 2nd District is heading for an automatic recount. It features incumbent Democrat Ron Barber, a former aide to Rep. Gabby Giffords who was shot and wounded along with Giffords by a gunman in January 2011. Barber trails Republican Martha McSally by just 133 votes. Nearly all of the votes have been tallied, and state law requires a recount if the margin is fewer than 200 votes.

Finally, there are two undeclared races in California: in the 7th District, near Sacramento, and the 16th, which includes parts of Fresno.

Both feature incumbent Democrats who currently hold very narrow leads.

So Election Day has come and gone.

We just don't know yet when it will all be officially ... and finally ... and mercifully over.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The midterm elections may be over, but the Republican majorities in Congress may yet grow a little. A handful of Congressional contests are still up in the air. There are runoff elections scheduled, a couple of races are still too close to call and there's at least one official recount coming.

Here's NPR national political correspondent, Don Gonyea.

DON GONYEA, BYLINE: Louisiana, a place where politics are always interesting, doesn't disappoint this year. Three-term Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu finds herself in a runoff against Republican Congressman Bill Cassidy because both failed to get more than the 50 percent required to claim victory last Tuesday. Even though control of the Senate doesn't hang on the outcome, the fight now goes into to an extra month of overtime. The TV attack ads are back too. Well, actually they never went away.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: On May 31, Bill Cassidy gave a speech that was nearly incoherent, but his record is crystal clear - voting to cut Social Security benefits.

GONYEA: Not to be outdone, the National Republican Senatorial Committee is still in the fray.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL AD)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: Do you agree with your spouse 97 percent of the time? Your kids? The ref at the game? Chances are, no, but amazingly, Mary Landrieu has agreed with Obama 97 percent of the time.

GONYEA: The other Senate seat that's been up in the air is in Alaska, where incumbent Democrat Mark Begich faced Republican Dan Sullivan. The Associated Press just yesterday called the race for Sullivan. Begich hasn't conceded. On Capitol Hill Wednesday, incoming Senate Leader Mitch McConnell posed with 10 new GOP Senators elect. He's looking for the number of newcomers to increase.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: We're really excited about having a great new bunch here and we hope they're going to be joined by Dan Sullivan and Bill Cassidy, shortly.

GONYEA: that's the Senate. Now the House race is where it's not over yet. There are two in Louisiana, where like that Senate contest, runoffs will decide the winner. One involves Democrat Edwin Edwards, who at age 87 has a resume that includes Congress, the governorship and eight years in federal prison for corruption.

Now to Arizona.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW)

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: The Congressional race in southern Arizona's second district is heading for an automatic recount, with almost all the ballots counted. Republican challenger Martha McSally leads Democratic Congressman Ron Barber by just 133 votes.

GONYEA: State law in Arizona mandates a recount in races where the victory margin is less than 200 votes. Finally, there are two uncalled races in California. In the 7th district - that's near Sacramento and the 16th, which includes parts of Fresno. Both feature incumbent Democrats who currently hold very narrow leads.

So Election Day has come and gone. We just don't know yet when it will all be officially and finally and mercifully over.

Don Gonyea, NPR News, Washington. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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