Biden makes phone calls to projected Democratic winners

Nevada Senate candidates Catherine Cortez Masto and Adam Laxalt.
Nevada Senate candidates Catherine Cortez Masto and Adam Laxalt. Getty Images

It’s Saturday, and election workers are still tallying the votes in pivotal races across the country. Here’s what to know as Election Day turns into Election Weekend:

Key races in Nevada and Arizona:

The razor-thin elections for Nevada’s Senate seat and Arizona’s governorship have yet to be called Saturday as counties in both states work to whittle down the tens of thousands of ballots that still need to be counted.

Democrat Katie Hobbs leads Republican Kari Lake by about 31,000 votes in the Arizona governor’s race as of Saturday morning, following the reporting of roughly 80,000 ballots in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous. And as of Friday evening, Republican Adam Laxalt is holding onto a slim lead of just more than 800 votes over Democratic incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto.

Balance of power in the Senate:

CNN projected Friday that Arizona Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly will defeat Republican Blake Masters in Arizona, and Republican Joe Lombardo will defeat Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in Nevada.

Kelly’s Senate win puts Democrats one seat away from maintaining control of the Senate, with just the Nevada race uncalled. If Cortez Masto wins, Democrats have at least 50 seats needed regardless of the outcome of the Georgia Senate runoff. If Laxalt wins, the Georgia runoff will determine Senate control, as it did in 2021.

Control of the House:

The state of the House, meanwhile, remains up in the air, with 21 races still uncalled. Democrats have won 203 seats so far, while Republicans have won 211 (218 seats are needed to control the House), according to CNN projections. Many of the uncalled House races are in California.

The GOP still appears to be inching toward a majority.

Regardless of the ultimate makeup of both chambers next year, Republicans’ lackluster midterm performance has prompted a backlash against House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, while a handful of Senate Republicans are calling for a delay in next week’s scheduled leadership elections.

Republicans attack the count:

The Arizona Senate candidate Masters, the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party of Arizona criticized the tabulation process in Maricopa County Friday.

The groups demanded “around-the-clock shifts of ballot processing” until all of the votes are counted, along with “regular, accurate public updates,” and threatened potential legal action.

“The suggestion by the Republican National Committee that there is something untoward going on here in Maricopa County is absolutely false and again, is offensive to these good elections workers,” said Bill Gates, the county’s board of supervisors chair.

Addressing the specific accusations from the RNC statement, Gates said: “I would prefer that if there are concerns that they have, that they communicate those to us here. I’m a Republican. Three of my colleagues on the board are Republicans. Raise these issues with us and discuss them with us, as opposed to making these baseless claims.”

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