Three weeks after the election, the unofficial arbiter has spoken:

(AP) SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Democratic Rep. Jerry McNerney has been re-elected to a third term in a Northern California congressional district, fending off a challenge from Republican David Harmer.

McNerney held a lead of nearly 2,500 votes on Wednesday with less than 1,900 ballots left to be counted. His re-election means no California congressional seat changed party hands, even as Republicans took back the U.S. House of Representatives with a national GOP landslide on Nov. 2.

Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele had campaigned for Harmer in trying to rally conservatives to block President Barack Obama’s agenda. It was Harmer’s second run for Congress.

In 2009, the former corporate lawyer lost to then-Lt. Gov. John Garamendi in a special election for the 10th Congressional District, where Democrats hold an 18-point registration edge.

The 11th District won by McNerney covers four counties stretching from the eastern San Francisco Bay area to a region of the Central Valley that includes Lodi and part of Stockton. It is evenly split between registered Democrats and Republicans, with independents comprising 18 percent of voters.

In 2006, McNerney unseated incumbent Republican Rep. Richard Pombo in a district that leaned slightly Republican at the time. A wind-energy engineer with a doctorate in math, McNerney has played a role in alternative energy legislation and sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Of course, McNerney called it for himself a couple of weeks ago. His opponent, David Harmer, has not yet called it for McNerney, and even attended an orientation for new members of Congress last week. He has also sought donations for a possible recount.

And I called Steve Weir, the Contra Costa County Registrar, today, and he said there are still as many as 2,500 Contra Costa County votes left in the 11th Congressional District, not the 1,900 that AP cites. But that was a few hours ago, so maybe there’s been an update. Weir said the official vote will be certified on Monday or Tuesday, which is the legal deadline.


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor for KQED's daily health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED News Fix.

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