Election results: Senate, House races still undecided – live updates – USA TODAY

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Ballots are still being tallied in key states, leaving blockbuster races undecided and the balance of Congress unknown days after Tuesday’s midterm elections.

  • What is the balance of Congress looking like?: Democrats breathed a sigh of relief by avoiding overwhelming losses (as some had predicted) though Republicans are still on track to take the House. But it’s the Senate that’s closer
  • What big races are we waiting on?: All eyes are on Nevada and Arizona where ballots are still being counted in crucial Senate races that could determine whether Democrats hold on to Senate control. Dozens of House races still don’t have resolutions, including a nail-biter in GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert’s Colorado district.  A handful of governor contests, including in Arizona where Trump-endorsed Kari Lake trails Democrat Katie Hobbs, are to-be-determined as well.
  • Alaska and Georgia Senate outcomes will have to wait: If Republicans win one of the Senate contests in Nevada and Arizona, it will all come down to Georgia, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Trump-backed Republican challenger Herschel Walker will face off in a runoff Dec. 6. A Republican v. Republican match-up in Alaska between Trump-backed Kelly Tshibaka and Sen. Lisa Murkowski is heading to another count. 

Here’s the latest:

Kelly defeats Masters in Arizona Senate race

Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly defeated Republican challenger Blake Masters in the US Senate race in Arizona, a relief to the Democratic Party, which is trying to keep the GOP from retaking the upper chamber of Congress.

Kelly was running to serve a full six-year term as senator after winning a special election in 2020, while Masters comes from the world of venture capitalism, and won the endorsement of former President Donald Trump.

Arizona, a key battleground state, has taken center stage this midterm cycle. After sending its electoral votes to Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020, both Democrats and Republicans view the state as ‘up for grabs.’

– Anna Kaufman

Sisolak concedes to Lombardo in Nevada governor race

Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo, a Republican, unseated Nevada’s Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak, breaking up what some observers call the “trifecta” of Democrats holding top state offices in the process.

With Sisolak’s election in 2018, Democrats took control of the legislative and executive branches of state government, in addition to having the offices of attorney general, state treasurer and both U.S. senators. The first-term governor campaigned on his commitment to protecting the well-being of Nevadans and on a promise, made in his first campaign, that he will not raise taxes.

Lombardo, who has served two terms as sheriff, positioned himself as the best chance to bring relief to the state that he said has been harmed by what he called Sisolak’s failed policies. Lombardo also hammered Sisolak over his failure to notify state residents of problematic COVID tests.

The other candidates in the governor’s race, Libertarian nominee Brandon Davis and independent Edward Bridges II, did not pull above low-single digit percentages in October polls.  

– Emilee Miranda, Cronkite News

Fontes defeats Trump-backed Finchem for Arizona secretary of state

Democratic candidate Adrian Fontes claimed victory in the race for Arizona secretary of state, edging out Trump-backed Republican nominee Mark Finchem.

Finchem is a three-term Arizona state representative who earned former President Donald Trump’s endorsement and campaigned on a highly restrictive voting platform. Finchem denies that Joe Biden won the 2020 election and was outside the Capitol during the riot on Jan. 6. He supports an end to early voting with stringent exceptions for military members and travelers and the hand counting of ballots.

Fontes served one term as the Maricopa County recorder and is a veteran of the US Marine Corps. He lost reelection to the recorder post by a slim margin in 2020 and took a job as an interim chief deputy for the Pima County Recorder. Fontes defended Maricopa County’s election system in 2020 amid Republican disputes that the election results were illegitimate.

– Anna Kaufman

Republicans place blame on Trump for subpar election results

After Republicans’ expectations of a resounding red wave crashed down, many in the party are pointing the finger at former President Donald Trump. 

  • New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu said in an interview on SiriusXM that Trump announcing a presidential run before the holidays is a “terrible idea” that could “muck up” Georgia Republican Herschel Walker’s chances at winning his U.S. Senate bid against Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock. 
  • Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears broke with the former president Thursday, saying she “just couldn’t” support him in another presidential bid. “The voters have spoken, and they’ve said that they want a different leader,” she said. “And a true leader understands when they have become a liability.” 
  • Among the particularly vocal have been politicians in Pennsylvania, a swing state where Democrats John Fetterman and Josh Shapiro prevailed over Trump-backed Republican challengers Mehmet Oz and Doug Mastriano for the U.S. Senate and state governorship, respectively. Retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said there was a “high correlation between MAGA candidates and big losses” and predicted that Trump’s influence would “wane” over time. Former Rep. Lou Barletta, one of Trump’s earliest supporters, said Trump “interfered with the primary here when there was no reason for it.”

– Ella Lee

Democrat Trone wins reelection in Maryland swing district

U.S. Rep. David Trone held onto his 6th Congressional District seat in Maryland after a formidable challenge from Republican state lawmaker Neil Parrott.

Parrott called Trone to congratulate him and conceded the election, according to a news release sent by Parrott on Friday afternoon.

More: Parrott concedes after close race. Trone to return as congressman for 6th District

A new map in the 6th District brought all of purple Frederick County into one congressional district. Republicans hoped the new map, brought about by Parrott’s lawsuit in state court, would flip the seat. But mail-in ballots counted on Thursday tipped the balance to Trone, who heads back to Capitol Hill to represent the district for a third term.

“Congressman Trone is grateful that Sixth District voters have decided to send him back to Congress to continue working on bipartisan solutions to improve the lives of the people who live here,” said Cheryl Bruce, campaign manager for Congressman David Trone’s re-election campaign, in a statement after the Frederick County results were released.

– Dwight A. Weingarten, the Herald-Mail

Texas Rep. Troy Nehls, House Freedom Caucus member: ‘all in’ with Trump

Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, told USA TODAY he’s “all in” on former President Donald Trump’s expected 2024 presidential bid.

“I want Donald Trump to come back (in) 2024,” Nehls, a member of the House Freedom Caucus, said. “I am all in with him….We didn’t have the crises in our country that we have today when Donald Trump was the president.”

Nehls argued that despite some Republicans’ claims that Trump-back candidates underperformed Tuesday, others – like himself – overperformed in his southeastern Texas district, which he attributed to the former president. 

“Donald Trump is the leader of our party, period,” he said. “2024 is the year of Donald Trump.”

– Ledyard King, Ella Lee

Waiting on a milestone: LGBTQ candidates trailing by razor-thin margins in too-close-to-call races  

A bevy of House races are still too close to call in California (16) and Oregon (2).

Of particular interest: the congressional races of Democrats Jamie McLeod-Skinner in Oregon and Will Rollins in California. Both are trailing by small margins.

They are also the last openly LGBTQ federal candidates still to be decided, according to the LGBTQ Victory Fund political action committee.

Early Wednesday, the group said 340 out LGBTQ candidates had won elections all the way up and down the ballot, from races for school boards to the U.S. Senate.

As of Friday morning, that number was 436, shattering past records. LGBTQ Victory Fund spokesman Albert Fujii told USA TODAY. The group can chalk up two more if McLeod-Skinner and Rollins pull off victories.

At GLAAD, a New York-based LGBTQ advocacy organization, President Sarah Kate Ellis, told USA TODAY that “equality was on the ballot” with a litany of hard-right conservative candidates pushing for the elimination of gender studies in schools and opposing equality measures on the state and federal level. But the wins this week, she said, are “pretty phenomenal.”

McLeod-Skinner trounced seven-term incumbent Rep. Kurt Schrader in Oregon’s Democratic primary in May and faced Republican nominee Lori Chavez-DeRemer Tuesday. Chavez-DeRemer was roughly 7,000 votes ahead Friday morning, but only 85% of votes had been counted.

In California, Rollins is within 1,500 votes of Republican incumbent Rep. Ken Calvert, but just over half the ballots had been counted.

– Donovan Slack

Why is Kari Lake outperforming Republican ally Blake Masters in Arizona?

One of the emerging trends in the still-being-counted Arizona races is that GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is outperforming GOP Senate candidate Blake Masters.

Lake was within 27,000 votes of Democrat Katie Hobbs Thursday, a difference of about 1.4 percentage points with enough ballots left to overtake her.

Masters’ totals, however, lags Lake’s totals by more than 60,000 votes. Additionally, Libertarian Marc Victor, who quit the race last week and asked his backers to vote for Masters, maintained pockets of support.

“Masters is unusual. Normally, we expect to have high levels of party-line voting now up and down the ticket,” said Gary Jacobson, political science professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego. “If someone doesn’t keep up with the ticket, that’s usually a sign of a flaw with the candidate.”

Masters has seemed “extreme even by contemporary Republican standards,” Jacobson said. “That’s probably hurt him.”

– Ronald J. Hanson and Caitlin McGlade, Arizona Republic

The Republican ‘red wave’ foundered nationally, but in Iowa it swept away Democrats

A red wave may not have materialized across the country, but it flooded Iowa in the midterm elections, washing away nearly every Democrat in its path and giving Republicans almost total control of state government.

Republican operatives credit Gov. Kim Reynolds with generating enough enthusiasm to help pull down-ballot candidates to victory, in some cases toppling longtime incumbents – even as the national success they’d been expecting evaporated.

Reynolds claimed a decisive win, even as Democrats in numerous other states made gains in governors’ races. Sen Chuck Grassley won reelection by double digits. Republicans held three congressional seats and flipped a fourth. They bounced state Attorney General Tom Miller and state Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald, two Democrats who hold the record as the nation’s longest-serving politicians in those roles. And Republicans grew their already substantial majorities in the Legislature.

– Brianne Pfannenstiel, Des Moines Register

Red wave in Iowa?: The Republican red wave foundered nationally, but in Iowa it swept away Democrats

In an election destined for the GOP, swing voters in PA decided otherwise

If there’s anywhere that reflects what happened for Republicans in Tuesday’s midterm elections, it’s Northampton County, a bellwether in the battleground state of Pennsylvania.

Conversations with dozens of voters told USA TODAY the story of why. For many, it was distaste for former President Donald Trump and wariness of a Republican party many feel has moved too far to the right.

Inflation was seen as the tailwind for Republicans to quickly reclaim control of Congress and for voters to offer a rebuke of President Joe Biden. In Easton, the seat of Northampton County, where the median income is less than $40,000, inflation wasn’t the magic bullet. Instead, it was democracy.

– Candy Woodall, Megan Smith and Ken Tran

‘Least of two evils’: Why swing voters in Pennsylvania backed Democrats in a midterm destined for the GOP

Trump unloads on fellow Republican Ron DeSantis, a likely 2024 foe

As former President Trump plans a likely 2024 presidential run, he has been laser-focused in the past week on his biggest Republican rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who won a landslide election Tuesday night to win a second term as Florida governor. DeSantis is widely viewed as a top 2024 Republican presidential candidate.

It was last Saturday when Trump first jabbed and poked at DeSantis with a less than flattering nickname during a 2022 midterm elections rally in Pennsylvania. Trump has not slowed down.

The latest installment came Thursday when Trump unloaded on Truth Social with litany of attacks, saying his endorsement of DeSantis in the 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary launched his political career and that DeSantis is “an average REPUBLICAN Governor with great Public Relations.”

– Sergio Bustos, USA TODAY Network – Florida

Trump vs. DeSantis: A timeline of Donald Trump’s punches, jabs and attacks on Ron DeSantis in past week

Nevada nail-biter: 798 votes separate Laxalt and Cortez Masto

Late Friday afternoon, Clark County released the results of more than 27,000 ballots, shrinking Republican Adam Laxalt’s statewide lead over incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto to just 798 votes — and at least 23,000 mail ballots were yet to be counted in Clark.

Cortez Masto faces a tough challenge from Laxalt, who has the backing of former President Donald Trump.

Early on in the election cycle, national Republicans had identified Cortez Masto’s seat as their best flip opportunity. And the contest, widely considered a toss-up, is expected to remain close until the end.

– Rio Lacanlale, Reno Gazette Journal

Katie Hobbs grows lead over Kari Lake in Arizona’s governor’s race

Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s Democratic nominee for governor, saw slight growth in her advantage over her Republican challenger Thursday, though the number of votes left to count was so significant it promised further seesawing in the race’s margins.

Hobbs, the secretary of state and a former lawmaker, saw a large lead of more than 180,000 votes when initial counts were posted Tuesday night. That dwindled to a few thousand over GOP challenger and former television news anchor Kari Lake early Wednesday morning, but widened slightly later that evening.

She widened the gap by Thursday evening, to just over 1 percentage point, as counties continued reporting early vote counts, including a big batch in Maricopa County.

– Stacey Barchenger, Arizona Republic

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Alaska Senate race appears to be headed for second count

With 100% of precincts reporting in Alaska, neither Sen. Lisa Murkowski or Trump-backed Republican challenger Kelly Tshibaka got more than 50 % of the votes.

That means the ballots will be counted again with the lowest vote-getter eliminated and votes redistributed to the remaining candidates based on order or preference from ballots cast Tuesday, according to the state’s ranked-choice voting system. The process gets repeated until someone gets more than 50%.

After the first round, Murkowski got 42.84%, while Tshibaka had 44.22%.

– Donovan Slack

History made: Wes Moore elected Maryland’s first Black governor; Maxwell Frost brings Gen Z to House

Georgia runoff election: Will President Joe Biden campaign for Sen. Raphael Warnock?

President Joe Biden stayed clear of Georgia leading up to Tuesday’s midterm elections, sending in former President Barack Obama to rally supporters for Sen. Raphael Warnock.

Now that the Georgia Senate race will be decided in a December runoff election, will Biden campaign for Warnock?

“The president will do whatever Sen. Warnock needs him to do to help him win,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Thursday.

Biden had an unexpectedly good night Tuesday, when Republicans failed to deliver a knock-out blow. Control of Congress is still up in the air.

But Biden’s approval rating, including in Georgia, is low. And Warnock has declined to say whether Biden should run for a second term.

– Maureen Groppe

Election results: The latest numbers on all House, Senate and governor races

Newly elected Republican: ‘Would like to see the party move forward’ from Trump

Republican Rep.-elect Mike Lawler, who narrowly defeated Democratic campaign committee chair Sean Patrick Maloney in the race to represent New York’s 17th Congressional District, told CNN on Thursday morning that he would like to see the Republican party move forward from former President Donald Trump.

When asked if Trump was responsible for the lack of a “red wave” on Tuesday, Lawler said there needs to be more focus on issues than personalities and that the party moving in a different direction “is a good thing, not a bad thing.”

“I would like to see the party move forward,” he said. “I think any time you are focused on the future, you can’t so much go to the past.” 

– Rachel Looker 

No Black women won Senate or governor races: Despite historic campaigns, no Black women won Senate or governor races in 2022 midterms