A victory in Nevada would give Democrats a 50th Senate seat and allow them to retain control of the chamber, as Vice President Harris is eligible to vote in the event of a tie.
If Republicans win the Nevada seat, control of the Senate would depend on the results of Georgia’s runoff election on Dec. 6. Democratic control of the Senate would block a full GOP takeover of Capitol Hill, giving Democrats power in the chamber that controls the confirmation of executive branch staff and federal judges.
Only a small number of ballots remain to be counted in the Nevada campaign, according to the Associated Press, with most of the remaining uncounted ballots in Clark County, home to Las Vegas, and the county of Washoe, which includes Reno.
The Associated Press estimates there are as many as 38,000 votes left to count in Clark County. About 5,000 are provisional ballots, which will be counted. But thousands of ballots must be “corrected,” meaning they require voters to take action to correct any errors. Clark County Clerk Joe Gloria said as of Saturday there have been 14,651 unprocessed ballots in the county, of which 7,139 remain unresolved.
Representatives for the Cortez Masto and Laxalt campaigns did not return messages seeking comment on Saturday.
Skepticism about ongoing counting efforts has recently emerged from prominent Republicans, some of whom have lingering doubts about the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election. Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R) of North Carolina Sud, for example, said without evidence during a call from the Republican National Senate Committee this week that a loss to Laxalt could only have been the product of a rigging. “There is no mathematical way for Laxalt to lose,” Graham said, Politico reported. “If he does, then it’s a lie.”
At a press conference on Saturday, Gloria was asked if any campaigns had expressed concerns about the counting process. “I have nothing to report there,” he said. Later, Gloria added that he had heard “nothing from any campaign” regarding allegations of fraud.
Laxalt, who helped lead Trump’s campaign effort to void the 2020 election, signaled on Saturday that he could lose his race to Cortez Masto for legitimate reasons. In a pair of posts to Twitter on Saturday, Laxalt wrote that he was led by “only 862 voices“and that if the pending votes in Clark County”keep trending DEM heavy then she will overtake us.
It is not uncommon for the candidate who was initially behind to catch up and overtake the initial leader, as has been the case in many previous elections.
Laxalt had an early lead in the race before thousands of ballots were counted. Jon RalstonCEO of the Nevada Independent, a local news agency, followed the race as updated numbers were announced by local election officials.
Hours after voting ended on Tuesday, Cortez Masto trailed Laxalt by more than 28,000, Ralston wrote on Twitter. who lead quickly has shrunk nearly 23,000 votes. Wednesday night, the head of Laxalt has shrunk again and was reduced to 9,000 by late Thursday afternoon.
On Friday, Ralston wrote on Twitter about the race, “is essentially linked” with Cortez Masto at less than 900 votes.
The tally in Nevada comes as Republican leaders face a rebellion from their membership after failing to win as many midterm seats on Tuesday as they predicted in the face of the president’s low approval ratings Biden.
How Fetterman won in Pennsylvania
Republicans entered midterms needing to win a seat to take control of the Senate. They have so far failed after Democrats flipped a seat in Pennsylvania and held on to several other states deemed vulnerable, casting themselves strongly as guardians of abortion rights after the end of Roe vs. Wade and portray GOP rivals as extremists. One of those states was Arizona, where Sen. Mark Kelly (D) was projected Friday night as the winner of Republican challenger Blake Masters.
Masters, who has also questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, signaled he could come to terms with his loss as well. In a message posted on Twitter, he says he wants “make sure that every legal vote is counted” and that “if, in the end, Senator Kelly has more than me, then I will congratulate him on a hard-fought victory.”
Congressional Republicans panic as they see their lead shrink
In Arizona’s Maricopa County, Bill Gates, the Republican chairman of the board that oversees Election Day operations and tabulation, rejected a Republican Party request for 24-hour ballot processing.
Republicans wanted a third team of election workers to help process and count the hundreds of thousands of ballots in circulation. Election officials work 2-6 p.m. shifts each day, during the Veterans Day holiday and on weekends. They are working on ballots in a region known for its prolonged vote count, largely due to the popularity of early voting.
Conservative activists and elected officials have called on Republican supporters to gather outside the Maricopa County ballot counting center and “stand up to unite” to protest the local election administration. A man who identified himself as Dan S. carried a long pole displaying a homemade “SOS” flag. He said the message was a call for the armed forces “for military intervention” in the counting of the ballots.
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone called the crowd peaceful and he thanked Charlie Kirk, the founder of pro-Trump youth group Turning Point USA, for urging people not to attend the protest or “say stupid things”. And far-right Sen. Wendy Rogers, who hours earlier had summoned protesters to the county building, backtracked.
“Best people STAY AWAY from Maricopa County offices, SO THEY CAN FINISH their work counting votes,” Rogers tweeted, an hour after the event began.
County officials, for their part, have tried to pack Rumors are circulating on social media.
“That’s the way things have been in Arizona and have been for decades,” Gates said.
The timeline has amplified Republican concerns about the outcome of close races, including the Arizona gubernatorial contest between Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs.
“A third shift for these employees is not an option,” Gates wrote in an email dated Friday to an attorney representing the Republican National Committee. The Washington Post obtained the correspondence Saturday through a public records request. On Saturday night, Hobbs led Lake by less than 38,000 votes.
In Nevada, Laxalt sought to link Cortez Masto to Biden while blaming inflation and criminality on Democratic policies. He pointed to a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill that Cortez Masto helped pass during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cortez Masto, who is the first Latina elected to the Senate, has made abortion access central to her campaign.
Laxalt said he wouldn’t support a nationwide abortion ban, but Cortez Masto attacked him for his support for a referendum to ban abortion in Nevada after 13 weeks of pregnancy, as well as his false claims previous reports that Trump had won the 2020 election.
Republicans kept control of open Senate seats in North Carolina and Ohio. And in Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) narrowly won reelection in a contest.
But the fallout from Tuesday’s midterm elections erupted on Friday after a group of Senate Republicans called for a postponement of the GOP leadership Senate election, citing the party’s failure so far to claim the majority.
The decision to delay that vote poses a direct challenge to the current leader of that caucus, Sen. Mitch McConnell (Ky.).
Republicans had spent millions losing Senate races in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, as well as saving GOP candidates like Vance in Republican-leaning states.
The Senate Leadership Fund PAC, closely associated with McConnell, has spent more than $230 million this cycle supporting Republicans in races across the country.
Home control was still up in the air on Saturday as the count continued in several close races.
Hannah Knowles and Liz Goodwin contributed reporting.
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