The fate of the Senate comes down to three states as Republicans look to pick up two Democratic seats to take back the majority. If the parties split Arizona and Nevada, control of the Senate will depend on the outcome of the Georgia runoff in December.
Instead, Democratic wins in two western states determine whether the Beech State runoff will continue to hold 50-50 control of the Senate — or actually pick up a seat. Increasing their numbers for Democrats in this midterm election would not only defy historical precedent, but also heighten the narrative this cycle that voters disaffected with the Democratic Party will flock to the GOP.
“We don’t know,” said one Republican official involved in the Senate races, adding that they believe the results will shake out in Nevada and Arizona. “We’re waiting.”
Both parties are expressing confidence about each state individually, and are theorizing how the remaining votes will work in their favor.
While Democrats have slim gains in Arizona and Republicans in Nevada, there are questions in both states about how many ballots are pending and how much they will change the current margins.
In a fundraising email Thursday afternoon, Arizona GOP candidate Blake Masters hinted at a Republican plan to challenge the results.
“We expect the path forward and legal battles to come, and it is critical that we have the resources necessary to continue this fight,” Masters wrote, explaining that he expects to win “once all the legal votes are counted.”
Another round of results in Arizona’s Maricopa County is expected to tighten the race between Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Masters. Republican projections indicate Masters, who was down 5 points on Thursday, would need nearly 60 percent of the remaining votes to win. According to AdImpact, Masters enjoyed a late surge after trailing Kelly throughout the fall, despite outspending Kelly by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in the general election.
Masters’ path to victory is no surer in Nevada than Republican Adam Laxalt, who has been a Democratic senator for months. Catherine Cortez was in a tight race with Masto.
“Democrats are in a strong position to protect and expand our majority,” said David Bergstein, a spokesman for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.
Emma Brown, Kelly’s campaign manager, noted that early results show that the incumbent senator has support not only from Democrats, but also from independents and Republicans.
“We always expected this race to get closer as more votes were counted and we would win,” Brown said.
Inside the Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said his chances of recapturing the majority leader’s office came down to the results in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, and he, like everyone else, was “watching and waiting.”
Republicans are hoping that uncounted Election Day Dropbox votes in Nevada and returns from rural, GOP-leaning parts of both states will help them pull through there and in Arizona.
“There’s still a lot of good votes for Republicans, and we’re confident in Nevada and confident in Arizona,” said a Republican strategist involved in the races.
Legal and voter protection personnel were on hand in both states as Republican and Democratic caucuses continued to count Thursday.
Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Sen. Rick Scott fired up the phones calling donors on Wednesday and Thursday. NRSC gets a jump on the TV ad wars, its launch First place Thursday afternoon, preparing to send out teams of field workers by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, Democrats announced a $7 million ground-game plan Thursday.
The Republican Caucus is under intense pressure to win Georgia, and not just because the GOP lost two Senate seats in the January 2021 runoff election. On Tuesday, Democrat John Fetterman said Dr. When Mehmed won Oz, Republicans lost a seat in Pennsylvania. They got a potential pick-up opportunity when Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan defeated Dan Bolduc in New Hampshire, a seat Scott and other conservatives say is winnable for the GOP.
Republican JD Vance, who won the Senate race in Ohio on Tuesday, sent a message Thursday to supporters asking for funding for Herschel Walker in the Georgia runoff. Walker faces Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock.
Control of the House also remains shaky as the red tide of Republicans also fails to materialize there. Democrats, who have done better than expected in House races across the country, are still hopeful of carrying the chamber — and they got good news late Wednesday.
Democrat Yadira Caravio won a newly created swing seat in Denver after Republican Barbara Kirkmeier conceded a seat that turned blue in a redistricting to Democrat Gabe Vasquez in southern New Mexico.
And in one of the cycle’s potential upsets, Rep. Lauren Bobert is narrowly trailing Democrat Adam Frisch in the Colorado race.
Uninvited races on the West Coast in Nevada, California, Arizona, Washington, and Oregon include securing control of the chamber for the next two years. Most battleground races in California have fewer than 60 percent of the votes counted because the state relies on mail-in ballots.
A bunch of uninvited California races could be decisive.
Leading Democrats Reps. Katie Porter and Mike Levin hold slim leads in Southern California swing seats, and weak Republican Rep. Ken Calvert held off Democratic challenger Will Rollins for a narrow lead on Wednesday. Republican John Duarte was elected to the open Central Valley seat held by Democratic Assemblyman Adam Gray.
On the East Coast, Maine’s 2nd District is set to go to a ranked-choice runoff next week, the state’s secretary of state confirmed Wednesday. But Rep. Jared Golden declared victory at a press conference in Lewiston Thursday morning, with a 4-point lead in all but a handful of precincts and third-party analyzes showing him likely to win votes from an independent candidate. process.
“I am extremely honored that the people of Maine’s 2nd District have elected me to represent them in Washington for another two-year term,” Golden said. “Even though Bruce Poliquin doesn’t want to admit it yet, at this point the end result is undeniably clear.”
In a ranked-choice runoff, Golden beat Polyquin in the 2018 re-ranked round. Maine’s Secretary of State announced the results to be expected By the end of Tuesday. Golden, who campaigned to distance himself from Biden and the rest of the party, has been a target for national Republicans as they try to regain the seat. Since the beginning of the year, the Congressional Leadership Fund and the NRCC have combined to rubber stamp Biden with more than $10 million in advertising.
The wait has left both parties on edge as the fate of both houses of Congress remains uncertain, two days after the midterm elections. And in the Senate, each side is touting the fact that they could be back where they were two years ago: Georgia decides everything.
In a memo released Thursday, Warnock campaign manager Quentin Fulks tried to remind reporters and donors how prepared Warnock is for the upcoming run — he “knows how to win” one after doing so in January 2021.
“Reverend Warnock is applying the principles of that successful election and is already implementing a strategy to win on December 6,” Fulks wrote, adding that Warnock outperformed President Joe Biden in urban and suburban districts, while Walker underperformed Donald Trump.
Kelly Hooper, Allie Mutnick, Jeremy White, Jessica Piper, Madison Fernandez and Burgess Everett contributed to this report.