We may not know who controls the Senate until December
The question of which political parties control one or both houses of Congress for the next two years could drag on until early December.
But whether Republicans succeeded in the midterm elections to narrowly wrest majority control from Democrats in the US House of Representatives could be decided in the coming days as ballots are processed in 11 states.
Republicans are projected to win 221 seats in the House of Representatives, three more than the 218 needed to claim a majority, while Democrats look set to take 214 seats, according to NBC News. That estimate has a margin of error of seven places. Election officials are still counting ballots in at least 31 races.
That final number of seats could be extended, however, if one or more House races are close enough to trigger a recount.
As of Thursday, two days after polls closed nationwide, three Senate seats still had no winners predicted by NBC News.
All three seats, in Arizona, Georgia and Nevada, are currently held by Democrats.
The outcome of those races will determine whether Democrats retain the smallest possible majority in the Senate, with the potential to actually increase their majority slightly.
While the results of the Senate races in Arizona and Nevada may not be known until next week, Georgia is heading to a special runoff election on December 6, as none of the major party candidates won more than 50% of the vote.
There are currently 48 Democratic senators and two independents who sit with them, compared to 50 Republican senators who make up the rest of the chamber.
Democrats hold the majority there because Vice President Kamala Harris has the power to cut ties as Senate president.
To retain that control starting in January, Democrats must win at least two of the three elections that have not yet been called.
But the party got some breathing room after Pennsylvania’s Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated GOP candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz for the Senate seat vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.
“Like all of you, I’m just watching and waiting for them to finish counting the votes,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told reporters Thursday. McConnell is favored to become majority leader again if Republicans win at least two of the remaining Senate races
In Arizona, incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly had 51.4% of the vote as of Thursday, compared to 46.4% for Blake Masters, his Republican challenger, who trailed him by more than 95,000 votes.
NBC News reported that 76% of the expected vote had been cast in Arizona as of Thursday afternoon, with 670,000 ballots remaining.
Counting in Arizona tends to be slower than in other states because of the need to verify the signatures of voters who cast so-called early ballots on Election Day. About 290,000 early ballots, which could have been cast before Tuesday, were cast that day — an increase of 115,000 over the number of ballots seen that day in 2020.
Results of the tens of thousands of early ballots that were hand-delivered to Maricopa County polls on Tuesday are expected to be released Thursday night.
In Nevada, Republican challenger Adam Laxalt leads Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, 49.4% to 47.6%. NBC estimated that 84% of the expected votes had been counted, with 165,713 ballots remaining.
Nevada’s race could take a few more days to resolve. Most votes are cast by mail, and ballots marked on Election Day can be counted if they arrive by 5 p.m. Pacific time on Saturday,
Nevada’s Clark County, the state’s 11th largest county by population, in a statement Thursday denied the former president’s claims Donald Trump which casts doubt on the vote counting process.
“We have heard his outrageous claims, but he is clearly still misinformed about the law and our election processes that ensure the integrity of elections in Clark County,” the county said. “First, we couldn’t speed up the process even if we wanted to.”
The county pointed out that by law it must “check every signature on every ballot envelope, and if it does not match what is in our records, by law we are obliged to give that voter until 5 pm on Monday, November 14″. , to heal their signature.”
“Additionally, there are provisional ballots to process and we will not be able to complete that task until we receive the reports from the Nevada Secretary of State’s Office on Wednesday, November 16. This process ensures that individuals do not vote twice in Nevada,” the statement said. announcement.
In Georgia, a Dec. 6 runoff was set after incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, received 49.6% of the vote, compared to 48.3% for Republican challenger Herschel Walker, a former pro and college football star, while is the third candidate who received slightly more than 2% of the vote. Georgia law requires a runoff from the top two candidates if no one gets more than 50% of the vote.
Warnock, who is seeking his first full term, won a special runoff election for the seat in January 2021, along with Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff. That double victory gave Democrats majority control of the Senate.
The largest number of undrawn seats in the House of Representatives is in California, where 15 races had yet to be called as of Thursday afternoon.
Nevada has three uncalled House races.
The states of Arizona, Colorado, Oregon and Washington each have two uncalled races in the House of Representatives.
Alaska, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico and New York each have an uninvited House race.
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