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With Democrats' win in AZ, control of the Senate may come down to Nevada

Republicans are still on a path to win control of the House, but by smaller margins than they were hoping. Democrats have a longshot chance of retaining control, but they would need some races where Republicans are leading to shift in their favor for that to happen.
Jerry Fallstrom/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Republicans are still on a path to win control of the House, but by smaller margins than they were hoping. Democrats have a longshot chance of retaining control, but they would need some races where Republicans are leading to shift in their favor for that to happen.

Updated November 12, 2022 at 1:52 PM ET

All eyes are now on Nevada, where tens of thousands of votes remain to be counted in the Senate race. The contest remains extraordinarily close, and with an Associated Press race call late Friday night that incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly has won in Arizona, control of the Senate could come down to Nevada.

Many of the outstanding votes in Nevada could be reported Saturday and change the trajectory of the outcome. Currently, Republican Adam Laxalt is clinging to a very narrow lead over Nevada incumbent Democratic Catherine Cortez Masto, but most of the vote that remains to be tabulated is in Clark County, where Cortez Masto is ahead.

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Cortez Masto has a path to a lead. Laxalt currently leads by about 800 votes. About 38,000 of the 50,000 or so votes remaining to be counted statewide are in Clark. If Cortez Masto can break even, as she has been, in Washoe County, where Reno is, and continues to get the same pace of vote out of Clark County (about 52%), she would wind up some 700 votes ahead. But that would be exceptionally close, there is a lot of vote counting to go and it's no guarantee that the margin a candidate was getting is the margin they will continue to get.

Even if that does happen, it might not be entirely known for days. Clark County is aiming to finish counting a batch of about 20,000 votes Saturday, but there are an additional 15,000 provisional ballots that need to be counted as well.

With the win in Arizona, if Democrats can pull off Nevada, they would retain control of the Senate without needing to win Georgia, which is officially headed to a Dec. 6 runoff.

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Control of the House is still also unknown. Several races in the West were called Friday, and so far, Democrats have mostly swept. The AP, which makes the calls NPR reports, called all three competitive House races in Nevada, for Democrats, for example. Those were seats Republicans had hoped to flip.

At this point, Republicans are still on a path to a slim majority, anywhere from 1 to 7 seats. But there are still millions of votes to count in California, so final numbers likely won't be known for days at least. Remarkably, Democrats do have a longshot chance at retaining control, but they would need some races where Republicans are currently leading to shift in their favor for that to happen.

Here's where things stand, by the numbers (as of Saturday, 1:17 p.m. ET):

The Senate: Republicans 49, Democrats 47, Independents 2, Uncalled 2

(The two independents caucus with the Democrats.)

Democrats are +1 with their flip of the Pennsylvania Senate race. That means Democrats need to win just one of Nevada or Georgia; Republicans need to win both.

What's left

Nevada: The margin continues to close here. Adam Laxalt (R) leads incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto (D) by about 800 votes, with 93% of the vote in. We are expecting more vote count to be reported Saturday, but we may not know the final result for days. Nevada is accepting mail-in votes postmarked by Election Day and received up to Saturday at 5 p.m. local time — and voters also have a couple of days to "cure" ballots, if needed. State law allows, for example, if a mail ballot is opened and someone's signature isn't there or doesn't appear to match, that voter would be contacted to correct it.

Alaska: This has been added to the Republican total even though the race is not settled yet, because both leading candidates are Republicans, so this will stay in GOP hands. The question is at this point: which Republican. Incumbent Lisa Murkowski (R) trails Kelly Tshibaka (R) by less than 2 percentage points, or just under 3,000 votes, with 80% in. If neither candidate gets above 50%, this goes to a ranked-choice re-tabulation Nov. 23. Murkowski would likely be favored to win that.

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Arizona: Kelly's lead expanded by about 8,000 votes with the Friday night batch of about 80,000 votes out of Maricopa County. The AP and news networks shortly afterward made the call in Kelly's favor, though vote counting continues there.

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Georgia: Incumbent Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican challenger Herschel Walker (R) are headed to a runoff because neither surpassed 50% on the ballot. Warnock missed the threshold by just under 23,000 votes.

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The House: Republicans 211, Democrats 201, Uncalled 23

For control of the House, either party needs to reach 218 seats. Republicans need a net of 5 seats to take control. They are on track to do that, BUT likely only with a 1- to 7-seat majority at this point. We likely won't know the full margin though for days because there are still millions of ballots left to count in California.

  • Republicans need to win 7 more seats to get there, or 30% of the remaining uncalled seats.
  • Current net pickups: R+8. (They have flipped 14 competitive seats to Democrats' 6, according to the Associated Press.)
  • Where they're winning: Republicans currently have flipped (14) or are winning (3) in 17 seats. Democrats have flipped (6) or are winning (3) in nine seats — for R+8.
  • Estimated Republican pick up: 6 to 12 seats. That would give Republicans just a 1- to 7-seat majority.
  • What's left: Of the 23 uncalled races, there remain 14 competitive ones we are monitoring where the party that holds the seat is currently leading. Several are within 2 points, so things could change. If they do, we will update the estimate.
  • Notable: One of those races with a razor-thin margin is Rep. Lauren Boebert's seat. She had been trailing, but is now up by just over 1,000 votes, and the race appears to be trending in her direction.
  • NOTE: Please keep in mind that these numbers are fluid and will change as votes continue to roll in. See the latest results here.

    Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    Domenico Montanaro is NPR's senior political editor/correspondent. Based in Washington, D.C., his work appears on air and online delivering analysis of the political climate in Washington and campaigns. He also helps edit political coverage.