The fate of the Senate comes down to the three states as Republicans seek to win two Democratic seats to regain a majority. If the parties split Arizona and Nevada, Senate control will depend on Georgia’s runoff result in December.
Conversely, Democratic wins in the two western states would mean the Peach State runoff would determine whether they continue to control a 50-50 Senate — or win a seat. Democrats who increase their numbers in this midterm election would not only challenge historical precedent, but upend the narrative of this cycle that voters disenchanted with the Democratic Party would flock to the GOP.
“We don’t know,” said a Republican official involved in the Senate races, commenting on how they think the results will rock Nevada and Arizona. “We’re just waiting.”
Both parties are privately expressing their optimism about each state, laying out theories on how the count of the remaining votes will work in their favor.
While the Democrats have the lead in Arizona and the Republicans a slim advantage in Nevada, questions remain in both states about how many ballots are outstanding and how much they will alter the current margins.
In a fundraising email Thursday afternoon, Arizona GOP candidate Blake Masters hinted at a Republican plan to potentially challenge the results.
“We expect a contested way forward and legal battles to come, and it is essential that we have the resources to continue this fight,” Masters wrote, explaining that he expected to win a victory. once “all legal votes have been counted”.
Another set of results from Maricopa County in Arizona should tighten the race between Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Masters. Republican projections indicate that Masters, who were down 5 points on Thursday, will need almost 60% of the remaining votes to secure a victory. Masters had a late surge after trailing Kelly through the fall, despite being passed on television in the general election by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, according to AdImpact.
The Masters’ path to victory looks less certain than Republican Adam Laxalt in Nevada, who for months has been locked in a close race with Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.
“Democrats remain in a strong position to protect and expand our majority,” said David Bergstein, spokesman for the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee.
Emma Brown, Kelly’s campaign manager, noted that it was clear from early results that the incumbent senator received support not only from Democrats, but also from independents and Republicans.
“While we still expected this race to get closer as more ballots were counted, we remain confident that we will win,” Brown said.
Inside the Capitol, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whose chances of returning as majority leader come down to results in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, said he was not doing than “watch and wait”, like everyone else.
Republicans believe the uncounted ballots on Election Day in Nevada and returns from rural GOP-leaning areas in both states will help them get through this and in Arizona.
“There are still plenty of good votes left for Republicans to count, and we are optimistic in Nevada and hopeful for Arizona,” said a Republican strategist involved in the races.
Both the Republican and Democratic committees had legal and voter protection staff on the ground in both states as the count continued Thursday.
Sen. Rick Scott, chairman of the Republican National Senate Committee, burned phones calling donors Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for a grueling runoff in Georgia. The NRSC is getting into the TV commercial wars by launching its first place Thursday afternoon as he prepares to send field crews by the end of the week.
Democrats, meanwhile, announced a $7 million ground game plan for the second round on Thursday.
The Republican committee is under intense pressure to secure a victory in Georgia, and not just because the GOP lost two Senate seats in the January 2021 runoff. Republicans lost a seat in Pennsylvania on Tuesday when the Democrat John Fetterman emerged victorious over Dr. Mehmet Oz. And they missed a potential pick-up opportunity when Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan beat Don Bolduc in New Hampshire, a place Scott and other conservatives have said is winnable for the GOP.
JD Vance, a Republican who won a competitive Senate race in Ohio on Tuesday, sent a text Thursday to his supporters seeking funds for Herschel Walker in the Georgia runoff. Walker takes on Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock.
House control also remains unstable, as the red wave projected by Republicans has also failed to materialize. Democrats, who have performed better than expected in House races across the country, still hold out hope of holding the chamber — and they received more good news Wednesday night.
Democrat Yadira Caraveo won a newly created swing seat in suburban Denver after Republican Barbara Kirkmeyer conceded, as GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell conceded to Democrat Gabe Vasquez in southern New Mexico in a seat that is turned bluer when cropped.
And in one of the cycle’s potential upsets, Rep. Lauren Boebert narrowly trails Democrat Adam Frisch in a Colorado race that has seen little outside spending.
Uncalled races on the west coast of Nevada, California, Arizona, Washington and Oregon are among those delaying the determination of chamber control for the next two years. Most battleground races in California have less than 60% of the votes counted, due to the state’s reliance on mail-in ballots.
A group of those unnamed California races could be decisive.
Frontline Democratic Reps. Katie Porter and Mike Levin have slim leads in their Southern California swing seats, and vulnerable Republican Rep. Ken Calvert took a narrow lead on Wednesday after trailing Democratic challenger Will Rollins in the early counts. . Republican John Duarte led Democratic Assemblyman Adam Gray for an open seat in the Central Valley.
On the East Coast, Maine’s 2nd District is set to move to a ranked second round next week, the state’s secretary of state confirmed Wednesday. But Rep. Jared Golden declared victory at a Thursday morning press conference in Lewiston, citing his 4-point lead with all but a few third-party reports and analysis showing he was likely to get of the independent candidate’s votes in the ranked choice. treat.
“I am deeply honored that the people of Maine’s 2nd District have chosen me to represent them in Washington for another two-year term,” Golden said. “Although Bruce Poliquin is not yet ready to concede, at this stage the end result is undeniably clear.”
A second ranking round there would be a repeat of 2018, when Golden beat Poliquin in the ranked round. Maine’s secretary of state announced the results it is to be expected by the end of Tuesday. Golden, who ran a campaign distancing himself from Biden and the rest of the party, was a target for National Republicans as they sought to reclaim the seat. Year-to-date, the Congressional Leadership Fund and the NRCC have poured out more than $10 million combined on ads to make Golden a rubber stamp for Biden.
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 bracing for the reality that they could be back to exactly where they were two years ago: Georgia deciding everything.
In a memo on Thursday, Warnock campaign manager Quentin Fulks sought to remind reporters and donors just how prepared Warnock was for the runoff – that he “knows how to win” one after having it done in January 2021.
“Reverend Warnock is applying the principles of this successful election and is already executing the strategy for success on December 6,” Fulks wrote, noting that Warnock has outperformed President Joe Biden in urban and suburban counties, while Walker has underperformed. Donald Trump.
Kelly Hooper, Ally Mutnick, Jeremy White, Jessica Piper, Madison Fernandez and Burgess Everett contributed to this report.