A decisive new batch of ballots from Las Vegas' Clark County has prompted the Associated Press and many other outlets to declare that Nevada incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto has defeated Adam Laxalt, assuring another two years of Democratic control of the U.S. Senate.
With the win, Democrats will have at least 50 seats plus the vice presidential tiebreaker vote -- just as they do today -- with an opportunity to secure another seat in the Dec. 6 Georgia runoff pitting Republican Herschel Walker against incumbent Raphael Warnock. With Senate control no longer at stake, it seems likely that already-dull Republican enthusiasm for Trump-backed Walker will sag even more.
The Arizona governor's race remains tight, however. Unlike Friday night's update -- Saturday's new tally brought some good news for the GOP, as Kari Lake trimmed Democrat Katie Hobbs' lead to 34,129 votes. Hobbs is up 50.7% to 49.3%.
There are still about 300,000 votes yet to be counted in Arizona, with the great majority coming from two counties: Maricopa, which is home to Phoenix, and Pima County, where Tucson is found.
Appearing on CNN Saturday evening, Arizona Assistant Secretary of State Allie Bones said rural counties are largely done, and that Maricopa County will give more tallies on both Sunday and Monday. She said it was unclear if Pima will release any more results until Monday.
Maricopa figures especially heavy. So far, Hobbs is leading Maricopa 52.1% to 47.9%. However, the Saturday batch favored Lake 51.8% to 48.2%, and her campaign hopes the next batches lean harder in her direction to push her to a dramatic 11th-hour victory.
85,656 late early ballots were counted in Maricopa today. They were spread out all over the county, but many this time did come from GOP strongholds in north loop 101 and the southeast valley. pic.twitter.com/0FBeO3ReCu— The AZ - abc15 - Data Guru (@Garrett_Archer) November 13, 2022
That may very much be the case. According to Arizona pollster and data analyst Landon Wall, the sequence by which Maricopa has been counting ballots means that tallies are increasingly coming from more Republican-friendly Phoenix suburbs and exurbs.
According to Bones, of the outstanding Arizona votes, the vast majority are so-called "late earlies" -- early-voting ballots that voters completed but then brought to a polling station on Election Day rather than mailing them in. Trump won that particular flavor of Maricopa votes in 2020.
"It's not a question that [Republicans] will win the next batches. Only a question of how much," tweeted ABC15 political analyst Garrett Archer, a former elections analyst for the Arizona secretary of state.
There are 255,000 uncounted early ballots in Maricopa County. Why are Republicans anticipating that these will break their way? Because 68% of these are in Republican leaning Legislative Districts and they were dropped off on election day rather than mailed which Trump won in '20 pic.twitter.com/nFgisun3Ct— Landon Wall (@LandonWall_) November 12, 2022
The Arizona race isn't the only remaining drama: The House of Representatives is still in play too, with each party trying to hit the 218 seats needed to control the chamber. As of Saturday evening, most outlets put Republicans at 211 seats and Democrats at 204. There are 20 seats still uncalled, and each party has a lead in 10 of them. That makes GOP control likely but still far from certain.
In one closely-watched but uncalled race, incumbent Colorado firebrand and gun-slinging Trump enthusiast Lauren Boebert, who'd surprisingly trailed her challenger in earlier counting, now has a 1,122-vote lead with 99% of ballots counted. If the lead remains that narrow, it would trigger an automatic recount under Colorado law.
By failing to flip the Senate, Republicans will now have to watch as Biden proceeds to populate the federal judiciary with more leftists. GOP senators also lose the much-anticipated opportunity to proceed with a variety of investigations, from the origins of the Covid-19 virus, to the government's pandemic decision making, Hunter Biden's influence-peddling, and more.
On Friday, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee told CBS he's ready to subpoena Hunter Biden and his business records:
"What Joe Biden said is, 'Our son is innocent.' If I were Hunter Biden, I'd want to come clear my name and make some Republicans look bad," said Rep. James Comer. "So we're gonna ask Hunter Biden to come before the committee. If he refuses, then I suspect that he would receive a subpoena."
...but that and other inquiries all hinge on the GOP's ability to reach 218 seats in the coming days.