The Senate boils down to four key swing states
Democrat John Fetterman flipped Pennsylvania early Wednesday morning, giving his party 48 seats. That means Democrats can retain the Senate by winning two of the four remaining battlegrounds: Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin.
Arizona and Nevada are the biggest question marks, with significant numbers of votes still to be counted in both states.
Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto takes on Republican Adam Laxalt in Nevada. Laxalt leads with more than 70% of the expected votes counted. But his advantage is tenuous due to a glut of potentially Democratic ballots in circulation. The state’s two most populous counties — Democratic-leaning Clark County, seat of Las Vegas, and battleground Washoe County, seat of Reno — won’t begin counting ballots received on the day of the ballot before Wednesday at the earliest, The Nevada Independent reported. The two counties represent nearly 90% of the state’s population.
Additionally, ballots postmarked by the United States Postal Service on Election Day but delivered to election officials by Saturday, Nov. 12, will also be counted.
Arizona, too, still has many votes pending. Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly has the advantage, and his lead over Republican Blake Masters is expected to shrink significantly, but not completely. Early Wednesday morning, about 60% of the votes were counted in the state.
Election officials have long warned that this would be the case. In Maricopa County, the state’s largest county, mail-in ballots that were returned close to Election Day will not be counted until Wednesday at the earliest. In addition, ballots that were cast at polling stations and could not be read by tabulation machines — would be a widespread occurrence in Maricopa – must now be counted in central polling stations. Officials said ahead of the election they hoped 99% of the ballots would be tallied by Friday.
In Georgia, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock narrowly leads Republican Herschel Walker. The problem for Warnock — and Democrats — is that it looks like the incumbent will fall below a majority vote, which would trigger a December 6 runoff between Warnock and Walker.
With 98% of the expected votes counted, The Associated Press has yet to say the race will end. But most people in the state expect it to head in that direction. “While county officials are still doing the detailed work on vote counting, we think it’s safe to say that there will be a runoff for the U.S. Senate here in Georgia scheduled for Dec. 6,” Gabriel Sterling, a senior official of the Secretary of State’s office, tweeted early Wednesday morning.
If the two parties split Arizona and Nevada and Georgia splits, control of the Senate would again come down to this contest – assuming there are no surprises in the battleground state remaining.
Wisconsin also has almost all of its votes counted, and GOP Sen. Ron Johnson is staked with a narrow lead over Democratic Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes.
GOP leading in House battle — but picking up weaker-than-expected gains
Republicans still lead the House majority race, but the number of uncalled races shows how surprisingly close the battle for the chamber has been.
Of the 26 POLITICO house runs scheduled as “hits,” only nine were called early Wednesday morning. 22 other POLITICO races classified as “Lean Democrat” or “Lean Republican” are also unnamed. In total, that includes nine races in slow-counting state California — one of the main reasons why resolving the House battle could take a while.
In New York, flagship midstate races (and one on Long Island) remain unchallenged, including Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Sean Patrick Maloney’s district and two other upstate seats. where the GOP is leading.
Three toss-up districts in Pennsylvania remain unnamed — but Democratic Representatives Susan Wild and Matt Cartwright and Democratic open-seat candidate Chris Deluzio have leads. The Democratic incumbents also hold narrow leads in the rest of their uncalled sweepstakes dotted around the country, including seats in Connecticut, Maine and Washington. In New Mexico, Democratic challenger Gabe Vasquez is battling to unseat Republican incumbent Yvette Herrell.
California and Nevada – where counting can be slow and ballots postmarked on Election Day can arrive later and still be counted – also have many races on the House battleground not called.
Western gubernatorial races remain big question marks
For similar reasons to their Senate counterparts, the Nevada and Arizona gubernatorial contests both remain unconvened.
Republican Joe Lombardo has a lead over Democratic Gov. Steve Sisloak in Nevada, while Democrat Katie Hobbs is ahead of Republican Kari Lake in Arizona for the open-seat race. Like the races in the Senate, these races are expected to narrow significantly, or swing outright, as more votes are counted.
It’s worth noting that both Democratic candidates are running a bit behind their respective incumbents in the Senate, meaning these contests are likely to be closer. Likewise, the secretary of state races in those states remains unnamed, with Democrats taking a slightly larger lead.
Another big uncalled race is the open seat contest for Governor of Oregon. There, with about two-thirds of the votes counted, Democrat Tina Kotek has a narrow lead over Republican Christine Drazan, with independent candidate Betsy Johnson trailing by a high number.
The majority mail-in state has been slow to tally all of its ballots in the past. In 2020, it was necessary to wait until the Friday after the election for 90% of his ballots must be counted. Oregon also instituted an Election Day postmark law. for the first time this yearmeaning that ballots that arrive up to a week after the election will still count as long as postal workers mark them before November 8.
Finally, the Kansas gubernatorial contest remains a close call, with Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly holding a narrow lead over Republican Derek Schmidt with nearly all of the ballots tabulated.
One last uncalled — but safe Republican — Senate seat
The Alaska Senate race is also unresolved. The question is not which party will control the seat but which Republican will win it.
GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski faces a challenge from Trump-backed Republican Kelly Tshibaka after Murkowski voted to convict Trump on impeachment charges in 2021. The two Republicans progressed through the new top four of Alaska, all parties combined, in general. election. Murkowski is currently trailing Tshibaka in the vote tally, but the incumbent is more likely to pick up Democratic voters who ranked her second in a new pick ranking, which would take place in late November if no candidate reaches 50. %.