WASHINGTON – Two days after polls closed in the 2022 midterm elections, some of the nation’s most consequential races have not yet been decided. Arizona and Nevada, in particular, had thousands of ballots left to process.
Though Republicans and pundits predicted a “red tsunami,” control of the U.S. House and Senate are still up for grabs.
In one of the tightest races yet to be decided, Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert is now several hundred votes ahead of her challenger after starting the day just a few dozen votes behind.
In his first address to the nation following the election, President Joe Biden chided the press and pundits on Wednesday for predicting a Republican sweep that “didn’t happen” and said he would work with his conservative counterparts regardless of the election’s outcome.
“Regardless of what the final tally is… I’m prepared to work with my Republican colleagues,” Biden said. “The American people have made clear that they expect Republicans prepared to work with me as well.”
Here’s what we know about outstanding midterm election races as of Thursday.
Election 2022 recap:Fetterman flips Pennsylvania Senate seat for Dems; several seats pending
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Alaska Senate race appears to be headed for second count
That means the ballots will be counted again with the lowest vote-getter eliminated and votes redistributed to the remaining candidates based on order or preference from ballots cast Tuesday, according to the state’s ranked-choice voting system. The process gets repeated until someone gets more than 50%.
After the first round, Murkowski got 42.84%, while Tshibaka had 44.22%.
– Donovan Slack
The ongoing delay in Nevada, particularly in Clark County, home to Las Vegas, has drawn criticism from former President Donald Trump, who posted a statement on his Truth Social network calling the process “corrupt” but offered no evidence why.
In response, Clark County officials in a statement called his claims “outrageous,” deemed Trump “misinformed” and reiterated they are following state law. Nevada officials say their count is slow because every voter received a mall ballot, and those are still being delivered to counting centers as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 8.
Hanging in the balance are the governorship of the state and the reelection race of incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, who is neck-and-neck with Republican challenger and Trump ally Adam Laxalt.
– Trevor Hughes
Georgia runoff election: Will President Joe Biden campaign for Sen. Raphael Warnock?
President Joe Biden stayed clear of Georgia leading up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, sending in former President Barack Obama to rally supporters for Sen. Raphael Warnock.
Now that the Georgia Senate race will be decided in a December runoff election, will Biden campaign for Warnock?
“The president will do whatever Sen. Warnock needs him to do to help him win,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday.
Biden had an unexpectedly good night Tuesday, when Republicans failed to deliver a knock-out blow. Control of Congress is still up in the air.
But Biden’s approval rating, including in Georgia, is low. And Warnock has declined to say whether Biden should run for a second term.
– Maureen Groppe
Washington Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse won reelection, the Associated Press reported early this morning, but he remains something of an endangered species on Capitol Hill.
Newhouse was one of only two Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump for inciting the Capitol riot and made it to Election Day. (The other, Rep. David Valadao, was still awaiting results Thursday)
The other eight retired or lost primary elections, including Rep. Liz Cheney, perhaps the most visible Republican on the House committee investigating the riot.
Newhouse emerged from the primary with only 25% of the votes, while 50% of voters supported Trump-aligned candidates.
“My strategy and my message has been to appeal to those people that have supported me in the past,” Newhouse told the Spokane Spokesman-Review, “and to remind them that I’m still the same conservative Republican that I’ve always been.”
Still, it was unlikely Trump-favoring voters would go so far as to vote for his Democratic opponent in the general election, Yakima businessman Doug White.
– Donovan Slack
Republican Lauren Boebert has pulled ahead of her opponent, Democrat Adam Frisch, by over 400 votes, according to the latest from the Associated Press with 98% of votes reported.
Boebert has trailed Frisch by a slim margin since Tuesday, in what became a surprisingly tight race between the incumbent and her Democratic challenger.
– Savannah Kuchar
In Nevada’s Washoe County, Nevada’s second-most populous, the vast majority of uncounted ballots won’t be tallied until Friday and maybe later than that. Mail-in ballots are still arriving. About 4,000 came Wednesday. Some 18,000 showed up on Election Day, none of which have been tallied yet.
“We are working on it. Please be patient,” interim registrar of voters Jaime Rodriguez urged. “It does take time. We don’t want to do it fast – we want to do it right.”
About 25,000 votes separated incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto from Trump-backed Republican challenger Adam Laxalt with 83% of the vote counted statewide as of midday Thursday on the East Coast.
Ballots that arrive through Saturday and are postmarked by Nov. 8, the day of the midterm election, will be counted.
Washoe and Clark account for about 90% of the state’s 1.8 million active registered voters. On Wednesday evening, Clark County released additional results that placed Cortez Masto ahead of Laxalt by 33,179 votes, or 51.3% to 45.8%.
In Washoe County, the margin was 0.2 percentage points – 356 votes. Our colleagues at the Reno Gazette Journal, a member of the USA TODAY Network report that officials expect to provide an updated count today. We’ll have all the latest here.
– Donovan Slack, USA TODAY; Rio Lacanlale and Mark Robison, Reno Gazette Journal
Republican Rep.-elect Mike Lawler, who narrowly defeated Democratic campaign committee chair Sean Patrick Maloney in the race to represent New York’s 17th Congressional District, told CNN on Thursday morning that he would like to see the Republican party move forward from former President Donald Trump.
When asked if Trump was responsible for the lack of a “red wave” on Tuesday, Lawler said there needs to be more focus on issues than personalities and that the party moving in a different direction “is a good thing, not a bad thing.”
“I would like to see the party move forward,” he said. “I think any time you are focused on the future, you can’t so much go to the past.”
– Rachel Looker
Officials in one Arizona county seem dead-set on moving forward with a hand count of ballots, despite a court ruling barring them from doing so.
The Cochise County Board of Supervisors took steps Wednesday to appeal the ruling at the Arizona Supreme Court, and County Recorder David Stevens said state law mandated that hand-counting plans move forward immediately – within 24 hours of when the polls close on Election Day.
“I have to drive on as if it’s going to happen,” Stevens said. He had set up a secure location, and plans were laid to select four races to audit — though he didn’t say when exactly workers would begin counting. Any hand count would have to be finished a week from tomorrow, on Nov. 18.
– Mary Jo Pitzl, Arizona Republic, and Donovan Slack
Visual breakdown:These Senate, House races will determine Congress’ balance of power
LAS VEGAS – Elections workers across Nevada continued tallying results Thursday as two key races – the governorship and the contested seat of incumbent U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat – remained undecided.
Polls going into Election Day showed Cortez Masto and Republican challenger Adam Laxalt essentially tied, and both sides say the outstanding votes favor them. Partial results reported by the Nevada Secretary of State show Laxalt leading by about 21,000 votes, but most of the ballots remaining to be counted are from more urban areas that have been trending in Cortez Masto’s favor.
“We expect the remaining mail universe to fall well below the percentage she needs to catch us,” Laxalt said in a statement posted to Twitter.
But a spokesman for Cortez Masto, who is known colloquially in Nevada as CCM, said he’s confident things are breaking their way from the Democratic-leaning Washoe and Clark counties, which are home respectively to Reno and Las Vegas.
“CCM just took the lead in Washoe and more Dem-heavy mail is pouring in from Clark. As we said, we’re on track to win this,” Josh Marcus-Blank tweeted late Wednesday.
– Trevor Hughes
More than 600,000 ballots to be counted as the day begins in Arizona
Arizona election workers on Thursday were still digging into a mountain of ballots — more than 600,000 statewide – in the crucial battleground state. The results will decide two of the most closely watched races in the country:
- Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly has a comfortable lead over Trump-backed Republican challenger Blake Masters, but only 70% of the votes are counted.
- Democrat and current Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is leading Republican Kari Lake, a former TV anchor, by a razor-thin margin – 13,000 votes – at 50.3% to 49.7%.
USA TODAY Network reporters at the Arizona Republic are on the ground following all the developments this morning. We’ll have all the latest here as the day unfolds.
– Donovan Slack
‘Drag on our ticket’: Ryan blames Trump for GOP’s midterm outcomes
Former House Speaker Paul Ryan called former President Donald Trump “a drag” for Republicans, in response to the party not performing as well as hoped in this year’s midterm elections.
“Donald Trump gives us problems, politically,” Ryan said. “We just have some Trump hangover. I think he’s a drag on our offices, on our races.”
Looking to 2024, Ryan said in a Fox News interview last month, that “anybody not named Trump” should be the presidential nominee in two years.
What some were predicting to be a “red wave” this November turned into a tighter contest for control of Congress. Republicans lead by 23 seats in the House, according to the Associated Press. The majority in the Senate may once again come down to a runoff election in Georgia, this time between Republican Herschel Walker and Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, after neither received at least 50% of the vote.
– Savannah Kuchar
AUSTIN, Texas – For Gov. Greg Abbott, his decisive victory Tuesday night over Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke was at once a tribute to his fundraising prowess, his unwavering adherence to the issues that played to his strength and his enduring lock on a state electorate that has grown and evolved over the Republican’s first two terms.
“It isn’t luck,” University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus said. “Abbott has seen a politically competitive Texas coming for a long time and planned well ahead for it, raising a record-setting amount of money and developing the most impressive ground game Texas has seen in history.”
With all voting places reporting unofficial results by Wednesday afternoon, Abbott had won 54.8% of the vote, to O’Rourke’s 43.8%, validating the governor’s claim the night before of a “resounding victory” to cheering supporters during an ebullient celebration in South Texas.
– John C. Moritz, Austin American-Statesman
Lauren Boebert’s race remains too close to call
The unexpectedly tight race for the Colorado House seat between incumbent Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert and Democratic challenger Adam Frisch remains too close to call. As of Thursday morning, Frisch led by 64 votes—putting the candidates neck-and-neck with 99 percent of votes reported, according to the Associated Press.
Boebert had a 97% chance of winning reelection against Frisch, analysts at FiveThirtyEight predicted before polls opened Tuesday.
Colorado law states a recount is held when the difference between the number of votes cast for the two candidates is less than one-half of one percent of the number of votes the leading candidate received. The current tally puts the Colorado House candidates at a virtual tie. The Associated Press is reporting each candidate has received 50% of the votes, with Frisch at 156,746 votes and Boebert at 156,682.
– Rachel Looker
What’s happening in Arizona?
The results of Arizona’s 2022 election were by no means finalized on Wednesday, but voters’ choices became somewhat clearer. The marquee races – for a U.S. Senate seat and the governor’s chair – remained too close to call.
There were still more than 600,000 ballots left to process and count statewide at the end of the day Wednesday, according to a tracker by the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. An estimated 340,000 of those were in Maricopa County, which encompasses the Phoenix metro area.
Among those that officials started processing early Wednesday were some 275,000 early ballots that voters dropped off at polling places on Election Day in Maricopa. Those ballots have to undergo signature verification before they are counted. That process should be almost complete by the end of Friday, officials said.
– Arizona Republic
Uncalled Senate races
In Arizona, incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly, a Democrat, holds a 5-point lead over Republican challenger Blake Masters with 69% of ballots counted.
Nevada Republican Adam Laxalt is leading incumbent Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto by just over 2 percentage points, 49.6% to 47.4%, with 78% of ballots counted.
And in Georgia, perhaps the most consequential of them all, incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock is headed into a runoff election against Republican challenger Herschel Walker. With more than 98% of ballots counted, neither Warnock nor Walker earned more than 50% of the vote, which is needed to name a winner.
Senate races recap:John Fetterman defeats Oz in Pennsylvania; Maggie Hassan wins New Hampshire
Alaska’s Senate race is yet to be called, but its ideological outcome is already decided. With the state’s ranked-choice voting system, Republicans Kelly Tshibaka and Lisa Murkowski are neck-and-neck for the seat, meaning that Alaska’s next senator will be a Republican; it’s just a matter of who. That state’s results could take up to two more weeks to finalize.
Democrats and Republicans have so far won 48 seats each. A party needs 51 seats to have the majority, but with Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote, Democrats only need 50 seats.
Uncalled House races
There are dozens of seats still at stake, including several key races that could determine what party controls the House.
Among the races called as of Wednesday evening, Republicans look better slated to reach the 218 seat threshold to control the House compared to Democrats.
In one notable outstanding race, Republican freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado trailed her Democratic challenger Adam Frisch by just 64 votes, with 98% of votes counted, according to the Associated Press.
House election recap:Democrats run stronger than expected but may yet lose majority
4 gubernatorial races have no winner yet
Four of the 36 gubernatorial races up for reelection have yet to be called, including the highly anticipated Arizona governor’s race between Democratic incumbent Katie Hobbs and Republican candidate Kari Lake.
Hobbs’ previously lofty lead over Lake has slimmed down to a razor-thin margin as the state continues to count votes. With 69% of the votes counted, Hobbs holds 50.3% of the vote compared to Lake’s 49.7%.
Governor races recap:Arizona, Oregon too close to call; Whitmer, Kemp win reelection
Nevada’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Joe Lombardo leads incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak by nearly 5 percentage points, 50.3% to 46%, with 78% of votes counted.
Democrat Tina Kotek leads Republican Christine Drazan by nearly 3 percentage points, 46.7 to 43.9%, in her run for Oregon’s gubernatorial race, where she seeks to maintain the Democrats’ 36-year hold on the state’s governorship.
Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy is likely to maintain his position as Alaska’s governor with 52% of the votes, beating Democrat Les Gara and independent Bill Walker. However, if Dunleavy’s lead falls below 50% the state will turn to ranked choice vote tabulations.