Democrats move closer to control of U.S. Senate with key victory in Arizona and tight race in Nevada


With the Arizona Senator. With Mark Kelly’s victory on Friday night, Democrats were just one seat away from maintaining control of the U.S. Senate, as all eyes turned to neighboring Nevada, where a contested Senate race is leaning increasingly Democratic.

Kelly won, and he was elected in 2020 to fill the late Republican senator’s term. John McCain delivered a string of victories for Democrats on Friday night as votes continued to be painstakingly counted in the West. Kelly’s defeat of venture capitalist Blake Masters, who lied about former President Donald Trump about the 2020 election, marked another rejection by voters of a Trump-backed candidate that Democrats have described as extremist.

Democrats will have 49 seats in the Senate so far, while Republicans will have 49 — meaning Democrats need only one more seat to gain a majority in the Senate (Vice President Kamala Harry Adams cast the tie-breaking vote). If they succeed in Nevada, they could reach the crucial 50-seat threshold, where Democratic senators are. Catherine Cortez Masto is approaching Republican Adam Laxalt, the state’s former attorney general, who has called the 2020 presidential election “rigged” and is speaking on behalf of Trump. Trump filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Biden’s 2020 victory in the Silver State.

The Nevada Senate race has been deadlocked for months, but it could ultimately determine the balance of power in the Senate. Democrats are also defending a Georgia seat, the Democratic senator. CNN expects Rafael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker to run in the Dec. 6 runoff.

Control of the U.S. House of Representatives is still up in the air. But it’s clear that even if Republicans win a majority, it will be much narrower than Republican leaders had hoped. The unexpected outcome has drawn recriminations and second-guessing from Republican leaders, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who had hoped to emerge from those races with a clear mandate to become the next House majority leader.

The string of victories for Democrats on Friday night marked a stunning reversal of fortunes for a party that appeared to be in serious trouble ahead of Tuesday’s election. Candidates like Kelly and Cortez Masto are working hard amidst President Joe Biden’s low approval ratings, an unfavorable economic climate in which inflation and high gas prices have squeezed the budgets of households across the country , and are facing historical trends that often lead to sharp economic losses. The first mid-cycle of a new president.

But it’s a complicated cycle, with many different headwinds affecting voter behavior, including the Supreme Court’s June decision to strike down abortion rights that angered many voters across the country. Republicans have also been frustrated by Trump’s decision to promote far-right candidates who are loyal to him but are often too extreme to appeal to the swing voters who decide the election. In the end, many independent voters and moderates appeared to reject candidates they deemed too extreme or too close to Trump — while Democrats defended their incumbent in droves.

Masters’ loss in Arizona came as prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, raided the state in the final days of the election, warning that the fate of the nation’s democracy was on the ballot. Voters in the Grand Canyon state also galvanized the race for the Republican state House of Representatives. Mark Finchem, a strident election denier backed by Trump, emerged as Arizona’s top election official. Instead, they will elect Democrat Adrian Fontes as Arizona’s next secretary of state, CNN predicted late Friday.

A bright spot for Republicans is Nevada, where voters elected Republican Joe Lombardo as the state’s next governor — ousting Democrat Steve Sisolak, CNN predicted. Popular Clark County Sheriff Lombardo reminded voters of their struggles during the Covid-19 pandemic, when unemployment in Nevada peaked at nearly 30%. Although the economy has bounced back, Lombardo believes Sisolak’s policies are too restrictive, holding back the state’s economic recovery.

Similar to 2020, some Republicans, including Masters, are already trying to spark controversy over ballot counts in Maricopa County, Arizona — suggesting that the county’s count is unreliable because of how some ballots were handled . Both Masters and Republican gubernatorial candidate Carrie Lake said the vote count was too slow.

Masters made a similar argument against Lake on Friday, calling the ballot counting process “incompetent” in Maricopa County — Arizona’s largest county and home to Phoenix — and pointing to problems with printers that caused some ballots to It was not counted correctly on Tuesday, though election officials said the issue was resolved within hours of Election Day.

Masters also accused the county of mixing uncounted ballots with those already counted. The Republican National Committee and the Arizona Republican Party issued a statement saying the election “exposed serious flaws in Maricopa County’s election administration. Arizona deserves better transparency, certainty, efficiency, and most importantly, accuracy.” and timely release of election results that are acceptable to all voters.”

A spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Department of Elections told CNN’s Kyung Lah that the county office “has redundancy that helps us ensure that each legitimate ballot is counted only once.”

“Because the ballots are tabulated in batches, we were able to isolate the results from those specific locations and reconcile the total ballots with the check-ins to make sure they matched. This was done in the presence of party observers, and This practice has existed for decades,” the spokesperson said.

Bill Gates, chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, rejected Masters’ suggestion that the county should wipe the slate clean and start counting again, noting that “Arizona law simply does not allow that.” Gates said the county is counting votes at a pace consistent with previous years.

When asked on CNN about the RNC’s specific allegations, Gates said he’d prefer they communicated those concerns directly to him. “I’m a Republican. Three of my colleagues on the board are Republicans. Ask us these issues and discuss them with us instead of making these baseless claims,” ​​he said.

Gates added: “Let the count go, and at the end of the day, if they have an issue and choose to go to court, which they have every right to do, we’ll let the process go.”

Kelly enters the 2022 cycle in a strong position to withstand the headwinds facing Democrats — even in purple states like Arizona, where Joe Biden narrowly won — because of his role as a retired astronaut, a Husband of a Navy Veteran and ex-Rep. with intimidating fundraising and a unique personal brand.. Gabby Giffords.

Masters, a first-time candidate, was able to emerge in the Republican primary with strong support from his former boss, conservative tech billionaire Peter Thiel. He appealed to Republicans by promising to prioritize immigration and said in a campaign video released last year that he believed Trump won the 2020 presidential election.

Masters then appeared to adjust his tone on the 2020 election results and the conservative stance he sought on primary election abortion — initially seemingly to appeal to a broader Arizona constituency. (While Republicans hold a majority in Arizona, independents make up about a third of the electorate and often influence close elections.)

After his August primary victory, Masters scrubbed his website of language that included false claims that the election had been stolen. During the debate with Kelly, under questioning from the moderator, Masters admitted that he had seen no evidence of fraud in the 2020 vote counts or election results that could have altered the outcome. During that debate and the course of the trial, Kelly argued that if an election denier like Masters were elected, the “wheel” could be “divorced from our democracy.”

But Masters appeared to reverse course after a call from Trump urging him to “get tougher” on election denialism, a conversation captured in a Fox documentary. In the final week of the campaign, Masters told CNN’s Lah that he doesn’t think moderates will be bothered by his comments about the 2020 election, insisting voters are more concerned with their concerns about inflation, crime and borders.

Throughout the campaign, Kelly painted Masters as an outsider candidate who would jeopardize abortion rights as well as Social Security and Medicare. With lawmakers within 15 weeks of passing a new abortion ban earlier this year — and working to pass laws to ban abortion in almost all cases — Kelly’s campaign has been relentlessly focused on Masters’ anti-Abortion campaign. Abortion stance.

Masters has said he would support a nationwide ban on abortion after 15 weeks, a proposal put forward by Republican senators from South Carolina. Lindsey Graham. The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest and protection of the life of the mother.

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