Undecided Nevada race could secure Senate majority for Democrats

A victory by Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto would ensure continued Democratic control of the upper chamber

Andrew Feinberg
Thursday 10 November 2022 21:26 GMT
Midterms 2022: What's happened in the Senate?

The tight race in Nevada could decide who controls the United States Senate, months ahead of a similarly narrow runoff in Georgia.

Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto might still be able to hang on to her Senate seat in her race against Republican Adam Laxalt after trailing for much of the ballot-counting process.

As of Thursday morning, the senator trailed her GOP rival by 15,812 votes, with Mr Laxalt having 436,854 votes tallied so far, compared with 421,042 for the incumbent.

With the Georgia senate race between Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker headed to a December runoff election, a victory for Mr Laxalt would once again put the fate of America’s upper chamber in the hands of Peach State voters less than two years after wins by Mr Warnock and Senator Jon Ossoff combined with vice president Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote to give Democrats control of an evenly-divided body.

But were Ms Cortez Masto to overtake Mr Laxalt and keep the seat in Democratic hands, her victory would ensure a Democratic majority regardless of who wins in Georgia.

Mr Laxalt, who previously served as Nevada’s attorney general, has thus far maintained his lead with extremely strong showings in the rural areas of the state, while Ms Cortez Masto has carried the most densely populated urban areas, including Clark County, where Las Vegas is located.

Because the areas which have not fully reported their postal ballot results are thought to favour the Democrat, there is a strong possibility that Ms Cortez Masto will garner the lion’s share of outstanding votes.

Jon Ralston, the CEO of the Nevada Independent and a widely respected forecaster of Nevada elections, said on Thursday that Ms Cortez Masto will “easily overtake” her GOP challenger if she continues to win a majority of the approximately 110,000 postal ballots that have yet to be tabulated.

“If her margin decreases from 65-30 to 60-30, for instance, she would still win decisively,” he said, adding that she would also be victorious even if her share of the remaining mail-in vote drops as low as 55 per cent.

“The urban mail is coming in with large margins for Dems,” he said.

Meanwhile, Republicans edged closer to securing a majority in the House of Representatives, capturing at least 210 seats, Edison Research projected, eight short of the 218 needed to wrest the House away from Democrats and effectively halt president Joe Biden's legislative agenda.

While Republicans remain favored, there were 33 House contests yet to be decided – including 21 of the 53 most competitive races, based on a Reuters analysis of the leading nonpartisan forecasters – likely ensuring the final outcome will not be determined for some time.

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