Two days after the 2022 midterm elections, control of Congress remains up in the air as ballot counting continues in a handful of key races, with two Senate seats heading to a runoff.
Senate control rests with three races in Arizona, Nevada and Georgia. The Republicans are poised to take over the House but are not there yet. Neither party reached the 218 seats needed to win the House.
Here’s where things stand in the hottest races that will decide whether Republicans regain control of the House and Senate:
ARIZONA SENATE RACE
Democratic Senator Mark Kelly holds a small lead over his Republican challenger, venture capitalist Blake Masters. As of Thursday morning, Kelly had 979,509 votes against 884,191 Masters, with 76% of votes counted.
Kelly won support from urban voters while small town and rural voters were more likely to favor the Masters. Suburban men clearly favored the Masters, suburban women Kelly, according to exit polls.
NEVADA SENATE RACE
The bitter race between Democratic U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican challenger Adam Laxalt remained too early to call Thursday morning as officials in Nevada continue counting votes, including mail-in ballots.
Cortez Masto, the incumbent, trails Laxalt by just over 15,000 votes with about 165,000 ballots remaining to be counted.
The outcome of the Senate race between Laxalt and Cortez Masto could illustrate the power of the Democratic Party’s focus on abortion against the economic issues frequently cited by the GOP.
COLORADO, HOME SEAT 3
Republican Lauren Boebert is in a close race in her re-election bid for a U.S. House seat in Colorado against Democrat Adam Frisch, a businessman and former city councilman in the chic ski town and predominantly liberal from Aspen.
Frisch led by less than 70 votes Thursday morning before Boebert took the lead in the early afternoon. The close race will likely trigger a recount.
Boebert’s contest in Colorado’s sprawling 3rd congressional district is under national scrutiny as Republicans attempt to overthrow control of the U.S. House in the midterm elections.
GEORGE AND ALASKA CREEKS
Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker will meet in a December 6 runoff in Georgia after neither of them achieved the general election majority required by state law.
That sets up a four-week blitz that will again test whether voters are more concerned about inflation under Democratic control in Washington or the Republican nominee’s checkered past. Warnock presents himself as a pragmatist in a partisan era. Walker attempted to make the choice a referendum on the National Democrats, caricaturing Warnock as a rubber stamp for President Joe Biden amid sustained inflation.
In Alaska, the only thing that is certain is that a Republican will take the U.S. Senate seat after the state’s top pick, with Donald Trump-endorsed Kelly Tshibaka and U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, a another Republican, leading the first returns. Tshibaka held an advantage over Murkowski in the first first-choice votes released on Tuesday night. The race also included Democrat Pat Chesbro.
In preferential voting, ballots are counted in rounds. A candidate can win with more than 50% of the votes in the first round. If no one reaches that threshold, the candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated, eliminating Chesbro from the race.
Rounds continue until two candidates remain, and whoever has the most votes wins. The tabulation rounds are scheduled to take place on November 23.
In the House, the Republicans were on Thursday less than ten seats of the 218 needed to take control. Racing was exceptional in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Washington.
Republicans had hoped for a red wave, but Democrats did better than history suggested. The ruling party almost always suffers losses in the president’s first midterm elections, although even if the GOP ultimately wins the House, it won’t be by as large a margin as in other midterm cycles. Democrats won a net 41 House seats under President Donald Trump in 2018, President Barack Obama saw the GOP win 63 in 2010, and Republicans won 54 seats in President Bill Clinton’s first midterm. .
A small majority in the House would pose a big challenge for the GOP and in particular California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who is on his way to being Speaker of the House and would have little room for error navigating a chamber of members willing to leverage their votes to move forward. their own agenda.
Pennsylvania Senator-elect John Fetterman speaks after his victory over Mehmet Oz in the hotly contested Senate battle.