US midterm elections 2022: focus on Nevada after Democrat Mark Kelly wins key Senate seat – as it happened

Last modified: 09: 36 PM GMT+0

Balance in Senate chamber remains at 49-49, with eyes on race between Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto and Adam Laxalt

Closing summary

We’re closing our live midterm elections blog now, but look out for our news reports later for developments in Senate, House and governor’s races in which winners have yet to be projected.

Democrats need to win only one of the two remaining Senate races, in Nevada and Georgia, to retain control of the chamber for two more years. Each party currently has 49 seats.

Republicans are narrowing in on victory in the House of Representatives, having won 211 of the 218 seats they need for a majority.

Here’s what we followed today:

  • The Republican who must win his Senate challenge in Nevada if his party is to have a chance of controlling the chamber said his path to victory was “narrowing”. Adam Laxalt, ahead by just 862 votes, conceded drop-off ballots still being tallied favored Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto at a greater rate than he expected.

  • Mark Kelly, whose win over Donald Trump-endorsed Blake Masters in Arizona put Democrats on the brink of retaining Senate control, criticized election deniers and praised Republican predecessor John McCain in a victory speech in Phoenix.

  • The atmosphere grew tense outside the Maricopa county elections office in Phoenix, where several dozen rightwing protestors hurled abuse at sheriff’s deputies. Extremist Republican Kari Lake, an election denier, narrowly trails Democrat Katie Hobbs in the race for Arizona governor.

  • Police say no powder was found in “suspicious” envelopes sent to Lake’s campaign headquarters last week. The candidate had closed her office and claimed what it described as an attack was politically motivated.

  • The race for Georgia’s Senate seat, which will be decided in a 6 December runoff between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and challenger Herschel Walker, will see Pac-funded negative attack ads questioning the Republican’s character, CNN reports.


The Associated Press, whose projections the Guardian uses to call election results, is explaining why it declared Mark Kelly the winner in the Senate race on Friday, but has not yet done so in the contest for governor.

“At around 10pm ET on Friday, officials in Maricopa released another batch of 75,000 votes, a tranche that provided enough information for AP to determine that Democratic Senator Kelly had won reelection against Republican Blake Masters,” the agency says.

“But there still was not enough for AP to call a winner in the governor’s race. The batch favored Hobbs over Lake by less than 10 percentage points.

Katie Hobbs.
Katie Hobbs. Photograph: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

“After Friday’s vote release, the margin in the governor’s race [between Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs] sat at just over 31,000 votes, with Lake about a point and a half behind.”

In all of Arizona, the AP says, officials report some 400,000 ballots left to count, including up to 275,000 in Maricopa county, meaning there are simply too many left untallied to be sure which way the race will go.

The picture could become clearer around 10pm ET Saturday, when officials in Maricopa county say they will release another batch of votes.


Tense atmosphere as protesters target Arizona elections office

Protestors have been gathering outside the Maricopa county elections office in Phoenix, Arizona, and hurling abuse at sheriff’s deputies, according to reports.

CNN’s Kyung Lah says “a few dozen” demonstrators waving stars and stripes flags are calling the officers “evil traitors”.

Workers at the office, where Donald Trump supporters protested non-existent election fraud after his 2020 defeat, are still counting ballots from Tuesday’s midterm vote. The winner is still unclear in a highly contentious governor’s race between the extremist rightwing Republican Kari Lake and her Democratic opponent, Katie Hobbs, who holds a narrow lead.

Lake, an election denier, has been accused of potentially stoking violence by leaning into debunked conspiracy theories of election malfeasance.

County officials have thanked law enforcement for keeping the elections office secure. Workers “have families and roommates and pets to go home to at the end of the night”, they said in a tweet.

Thank you @mcsoaz deputies. We respect protesters' 1st Amendment rights & hope they demonstrate peacefully and with consideration for the people involved in administering @maricopavote elections who have families and roommates and pets to go home to at the end of the night.

— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) November 12, 2022

Earlier today, the Democrat Mark Kelly, who is projected to retain his Senate seat, berated election deniers in a victory speech in Phoenix.

“We’ve seen the consequences that come when leaders refuse to accept the truth and focus more on conspiracies of the past than solving the challenges that we face today,” he said.

Kelly’s beaten Republican challenger, Blake Masters, has not yet conceded the race.

He posted a tweet saying: “If, at the end, Senator Kelly has more [votes] than I do, then I will congratulate him on a hard-fought victory.”

— Blake Masters (@bgmasters) November 12, 2022


Buoyant Montana Republicans eye 2024 Senate upset

Republicans are emboldened by a string of electoral victories in Montana and are turning their attention to seizing the Senate seat held by three-term Democrat Jon Tester in 2024, the Associated Press reports.

A potentially bruising primary battle is possible between two Republicans who won US House seats Tuesday, former interior secretary Ryan Zinke and representative Matt Rosendale, the agency says.

Ryan Zinke.
Ryan Zinke. Photograph: Thom Bridge/AP

Zinke, 61, said he considers Tester vulnerable, and he will make a decision on whether to seek the Senate seat next year.

Rosendale, 62, said Tester doesn’t represent Montana’s interests and should be replaced, but he declined to answer when asked if he will run.

Tester is expected to be among the most vulnerable Democrats in the Senate in the next election cycle, along with fellow moderates Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

Voters in Montana and West Virginia have increasingly trended Republican, while Arizona has become a key swing state targeted by both parties.

Tester, 66, said it is not certain he will seek a fourth term. “I’m going to make this decision based on my effectiveness and my family,” he said Friday.

Joe Biden called three Democratic midterm winners on Saturday to offer congratulations, CNN reports.

The president phoned Maryland congressman David Trone, representative Pat Ryan from New York, and the newly re-elected Arizona senator Mark Kelly, the network said.

Biden “made a congratulatory call to congressman David Trone from Phnom Penh, Cambodia at 11.39pm local time”, the White House said.

Biden is in Cambodia at the Association of South-east Asian Nations summit, after attending the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt on Friday.


Interim summary

Here’s where things stand midway through a potentially decisive day for control of the Senate, as counting continues in the midterm elections:

  • The Republican who must win his Senate challenge in Nevada if his party is to seize control of the chamber is admitting his path to victory is “narrowing”. Adam Laxalt, who leads by just 862 votes, says mail-in ballots are favoring Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto at a greater rate than he expected.

  • Mark Kelly, whose win over Donald Trump-endorsed Blake Masters in Arizona put Democrats on the brink of retaining Senate control, criticized election deniers and praised Republican predecessor John McCain in a morning victory speech in Phoenix.

  • The race for Georgia’s Senate seat, which will be decided in a 6 December runoff between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and challenger Herschel Walker, will see Pac-funded negative attack ads questioning the Republican’s character, CNN reports.

  • Police in Phoenix say no powder was found in “suspicious” envelopes sent to the headquarters of extremist Republican governor candidate Kari Lake’s campaign last week. Lake continues to trail Democrat Katie Hobbs by a narrow margin.


Laxalt: Window for Nevada victory 'has narrowed'

Adam Laxalt, who must win his Senate challenge to Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada if Republicans are to have any chance of retaking control of the chamber, is acknowledging that the race could be slipping away.

In a Saturday tweet, Laxalt says early ballots dropped off on election day, and currently being tallied, and which have narrowed his lead to 862 votes, are breaking for his Democratic opponent at a greater rate than he expected.

“This has narrowed our victory window,” he wrote on Twitter.

In the 2020 presidential election, ballots counted after election day largely favored Democrats.

Laxalt said the result depended on where the outstanding votes are coming from. “If they are GOP precincts or slightly DEM leaning then we can still win. If they continue to trend heavy DEM then she will overtake us,” he wrote.

Here is where we are — we are up only 862 votes. Multiple days in a row, the mostly mail in ballots counted continue to break in higher DEM margins than we calculated. This has narrowed our victory window. The race will come down to 20-30K Election Day Clark drop off ballots.

— Adam Paul Laxalt (@AdamLaxalt) November 12, 2022

Earlier, the Republican candidate appeared more confident, stating in a Friday night tweet that he expected “her percentages to continue to remain under what she needs”.

There is no indication yet when the race might be called, but today is the last day for Nevada mail-in ballots to arrive and be counted, as long as they were postmarked by the 8 November election day.

A Cortez Masto victory would retain Democratic control of the Senate for another two years, and lessen the importance of 6 December runoff between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia.


Kelly praises McCain in Arizona victory speech

Mark Kelly, whose win in his Senate race in Arizona moved Democrats to within one seat of retaining control of the chamber, has slammed election deniers and praised his late predecessor, Republican John McCain, in a victory speech in Phoenix.

Kelly was speaking to jubilant supporters on Saturday morning, with his wife Gabby Giffords, a former Democratic congresswoman who was shot and badly injured in an attempted assassination 11 years ago, at his side.

Senator Mark Kelly.
Senator Mark Kelly. Photograph: Patrick T Fallon/AFP/Getty Images

Kelly also praised election workers, Republican and Democrat, who he said had done the “important work of making sure Arizonans’ voices are heard”:

After a long election it can be tempting to remain focused on the things that divide us, but we’ve seen the consequences that come when leaders refuse to accept the truth and focus more on conspiracies of the past than solving the challenges that we face today.

And for the past two years, as we face these challenges, not a day has gone by where I have not remembered that I am sitting in the Senate seat [of] Senator John McCain.

Senator McCain embodied everything that was to be a leader at a time when our state and our country remain divided. His legacy of building bridges and focusing on Arizona is an example of what we all should do and what we should look to.


The run-off for Georgia’s Senate seat between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger Herschel Walker is about turn nasty, CNN reports.

Attack advertising against the Walker campaign is set to launch Saturday, the network says, funded by a Democratic super political action committee (super Pac) that seeks to secure a victory for Warnock in the 6 December election.

Herschel Walker.
Herschel Walker. Photograph: John Bazemore/AP

The ad, titled Shown Us and made by Georgia Honor, a group tied to the Senate Majority Pac, questions the character of Walker, a former football player. Walker’s troubled general election campaign saw him fending off domestic violence accusations and reports he had paid for abortions.

Walker is, the ad claims, according to CNN, “a liar who has a ‘long record of violence toward women’”.

A narrator says: “Herschel Walker has shown us who he is. Herschel Walker is unfit for office.”

Meanwhile, a video of Walker calling America “the greatest country in the US” at a rally on Thursday has gone viral, Newsweek reports.

The gaffe has amassed half a million views on Twitter, the outlet says.

Warnock, a Black pastor who unseated the Republican Kelly Loeffler last year in a run-off following the 2020 election, leads his challenger in this year’s race. But with neither candidate achieving 50% of the vote, a runoff is necessary under Georgia law.

Depending on the result in the only other outstanding Senate race in Nevada, the December result could determine who controls the chamber for the next two years.


We’re still waiting for updates on Nevada’s pivotal senate race, but we do know that Republican Joe Lombardo, a Trump-backed sheriff, will occupy the governor’s mansion.

Lombardo’s contest with incumbent Steve Sisolak was called by the Associated Press late on Friday, restoring his party to state governorship after a single term of office for the beaten Democrat.

Joe Lombardo.
Joe Lombardo. Photograph: Caroline Brehman/EPA

“It appears we will fall a percentage point or so short of winning,” Sisolak said in a statement conceding the race to Lombardo shortly after a batch of vote results was reported in Clark county on Friday night.

“That is why I reached out to the sheriff to wish him success.”

The count of ballots in Nevada took several days partly due to a provision of a broad mail voting law passed by the state legislature in 2020. It requires counties to accept ballots postmarked by election day if they arrive up to four days later.

Counting in the close Senate race between Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto and her Republican challenger Adam Laxalt continues.

Read more:


From deep dives into voter demographics and algorithms predicting results, to analysis of mail-in versus in-person balloting, there is no disputing the rise of the importance of data in any modern election cycle.

In an impressive study of critical information for the Washington Post, reporter María Luisa Paúl has found that 10% of the new US Senate from January will be men named John or Jon.

Democrat John Fetterman, senator-elect for Pennsylvania, will be among the most prominent after flipping the previously Republican-held seat with his victory over Mehmet Oz.

There will be 10 of them in the chamber for the 118th Congress, with or without the “h”, Paúl says.

Johns and Jons are about to make up 10 percent of the U.S. Senate

— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) November 12, 2022

Four are Democrats: Fetterman, John Hickenlooper (Colorado), Jon Ossoff (Georgia) and Jon Tester (Montana).

The other six are Republicans: John Barrasso (Wyoming), John Boozman (Arkansas), John Cornyn (Texas), John Hoeven (North Dakota), John Kennedy (Louisiana) and John Thune (South Dakota).

The name’s popularity in politics doesn’t extend just to the Senate, the Post notes. Four of the 46 US presidents to date were named John: John Adams, John Quincy Adams, John Tyler, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy.


The day before your daughter’s wedding would usually be a time to check on last minute arrangements. Have the flowers arrived? Is my suit pressed? Is my father of the bride speech ready?

Donald Trump, however, was mostly busy elsewhere on Friday, the eve of Saturday’s wedding of his youngest daughter Tiffany Trump to Michael Boulos at the family’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago with his daughter Tiffany and her fiance Michael Boulos on Friday, the day before their wedding.
Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago with his daughter Tiffany and her fiance Michael Boulos on Friday, the day before their wedding. Photograph: MEGA/GC Images

As the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports, as well as continuing to fire off furious social media messages following the Republicans’ disappointing performance in the midterms, Trump filed a lawsuit seeking to block the House January 6 select committee’s subpoena demanding testimony in the investigation into Capitol attack.

The suit appears to reflect an attempt by the former president to delay compliance with the sprawling subpoena, in an effort that could culminate in a constitutional showdown with the House of Representatives before the US supreme court.

“Former President Trump turns to the courts to preserve his rights and Executive Branch independence consistently upheld by the courts and endorsed by the Department of Justice,” Trump’s attorneys wrote in a 41-page submission filed in federal court in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Read the full story:


Police: no powder in Lake campaign HQ envelope

Police say there was no powder in a “suspicious” envelope opened earlier this week at the campaign headquarters of Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for governor of Arizona.

Phoenix police spokesperson Donna Rossi said that “the state lab tested the items turned over to them,” the Arizona Republic reported. The lab “determined there was no substance inside.”

Kari Lake.
Kari Lake. Photograph: Étienne Laurent/EPA

Phoenix police and fire officials said they were called to the building around 2am Sunday, on a report of an envelope containing suspicious white powder. Lake closed the office temporarily.

Police said at the time there were no reports of injuries or illness, though Lake’s campaign had said the staff member who opened the envelope was under medical supervision, the Associated Press reported.

Democrat Katie Hobbs held a narrow lead over Lake, a Donald Trump acolyte and election denier, as counting continued in the key battleground state on Saturday morning.


The supreme court’s June decision to strip federal abortion rights was a key election issue for many midterm voters. My colleague Lauren Gambino looks at how it held back a Republican “red wave”:

This summer, after a tectonic decision by the supreme court to overturn Roe v Wade eliminated the nearly 50-year constitutional right to abortion, Joe Biden predicted American women would revolt. Republicans, however, saw a “red wave” brewing, fueled by widespread economic discontent.

On Thursday, after Democrats defied historical expectations in the first major election of the post-Roe era, Biden effectively declared: “I told ya so.”

“Women in America made their voices heard, man,” the president told a crowd of supporters at the Howard Theater in Washington on Thursday. “Y’all showed up and beat the hell out of them.”

The 2022 midterm elections were expected to usher in staggering losses for Democrats. The party in power typically fares poorly, and with Biden’s approval ratings mired in the low 40s, Republicans were expected to make significant gains.

That is not how the results unfolded. As the vote count continues in several key races, Republicans appear on track to win a far narrower House majority than they hoped, while Democrats may retain control of the Senate.

As a fuller portrait of the results emerges, advocates, Democrats and even some Republicans say one thing is clear: abortion proved a defining issue. Fury over the loss of federal abortion protections galvanized women and young people and delivered a string of unexpected victories for Democrats and new protections for reproductive rights.

“You cannot have half of the population have their body autonomy put under threat and not expect it to be mobilizing,” said Heidi Sieck, the CEO and co-founder of #VoteProChoice. “And that’s what we saw across the board with young people showing up, women showing up, newly registered women being more than two-thirds of the newly registered voters.”

Exit polls conducted for news networks by Edison Research showed that abortion was the top issue for many Americans, especially young people under the age of 30. And about 60% of voters said they were dissatisfied or angry with the supreme court’s decision to overturn Roe, according to exit polls conducted by AP Votecast.

Read the full story:


Ever heard a tale about a reality television star deciding to change career, mounting an unexpected run for political office, then winning?

It’s happened again in Kentucky, where Republican Nick Wilson, a former champion of the Survivor game show, will sit in the state’s House of Representatives after being elected unopposed in his district.

In parallels (kind of) to Donald Trump’s political career, Wilson, 32, banked $1m as the champion of Survivor’s David v Goliath edition in 2018, outlasting a large field of fellow contestants, but wasn’t so successful in his second attempt on a reunion show in 2020, when he was unceremoniously voted out by his tribe.

Wilson, a former assistant commonwealth attorney for Whitley county, replaces retiring Republican Regina Huff, who endorsed him.

The tribe has spoken and past "Survivor" winner Nick Wilson is in the house ... Kentucky's House of Representatives, that is!!!

— TMZ (@TMZ) November 11, 2022

While we were largely focused on the US Senate race in Arizona, other contests in the state have also been closely watched.

As my colleague Ed Pilkington writes, the victory of Adrian Fontes, the Democratic candidate for secretary of state, may come to be seen as one of the most significant results of the 2022 elections in terms of the future of American democracy.

Adrian Fontes.
Adrian Fontes. Photograph: Jim Urquhart/Reuters

Fontes beat Mark Finchem, a rabid election denier and member of the far-right Oath Keepers militia who was present at the US Capitol on the day of the 6 January 2021 insurrection.

Finchem has made repeated efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s win in Arizona in the 2020 election, in favor of his idol Donald Trump.

By frustrating Finchem’s efforts to secure the secretary of state position, Fontes, a former Marine, has prevented both local and federal election administration in Arizona falling into the hands of an avid opponent of democratic norms.

— Adrian Fontes (@Adrian_Fontes) November 12, 2022

Had Finchem come out on top, as some polls suggested he might in the final stretch of the campaign, he would have been placed to radically alter Arizona’s handling of elections and could even have subverted the outcome of the 2024 presidential battle.

“I promise always to honor and defend the ideal of fair and honest elections with the voters of Arizona and I will help reignite the flame of unity in our Republic,” Fontes tweeted after his victory was confirmed last night.

Read the full story:

Good morning US politics blog readers, and welcome to a rare weekend edition covering the ongoing midterm election!

It could be a decisive day for control of the US Senate, where the results in only two states – Nevada and Georgia – are still outstanding, and the balance of power in the chamber remains delicately poised at 49-49.

With the race in Georgia heading to a 6 December runoff, and Democrat Mark Kelly having been declared the victor in Arizona late on Friday, that leaves all eyes on the pivotal Nevada nailbiter between the incumbent Democrat, Catherine Cortez Masto, and her Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt.

Even if we don’t get a result today, we are expecting to see more votes tallied in a race Laxalt led by a mere 862 at breakfast time from almost a million counted.

A Cortez Masto victory would keep the Senate in Democrat hands for the next two years, as the party would have the tie-breaking vote of vice-president Kamala Harris. Republicans must win both Nevada and Georgia to wrest control.

Counting also continues in various races for the House of Representatives, where Republicans are closing on a narrower victory than expected.

We’ll bring you all the developments as they come in through the day. While we wait, here’s a primer on the state of play in Nevada and elsewhere:


Richard Luscombe

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
US midterm elections 2022: Trump backlash grows as top Virginia Republican says ‘I could not support him’ – as it happened
Lieutenant governor says former president has become ‘liability’ amid speculation over 2024 White House run – follow the latest

Sam Levin (now), Maanvi Singh, Chris Stein and Martin Belam (earlier)

11, Nov, 2022 @10:48 AM

Article image
US midterm elections results 2022: live
Full live results of the Congressional midterms, seat by seat. The House of Representatives remains undecided, but Democrats have retained control of the Senate

Antonio Voce, Seán Clarke, Niels de Hoog and Anna Leach

15, Nov, 2022 @5:54 PM

Article image
Chuck Schumer insists Democrats can hold or expand Senate majority – as it happened
Majority leader acknowledges race will be ‘tight’ but says he believes Democrats will keep control of Senate

Chris Stein in Washington

03, Nov, 2022 @8:00 PM

Article image
Fury after Democrats publish and withdraw letter urging Biden to negotiate with Russia – as it happened
Letter was drafted months ago and ‘released by staff without vetting’, says Pramila Jayapal

Chris Stein

25, Oct, 2022 @8:06 PM

Article image
Biden open to re-evaluating Saudi relationship after Opec+ cuts, says White House – as it happened
‘In light of the Opec decision, I think that’s where he is,’ says John Kirby, spokesman for Biden’s national security council

Chris Stein

11, Oct, 2022 @8:01 PM

Article image
‘We won’t be intimidated by Putin’s rhetoric,’ says White House after Biden’s ‘Armageddon’ warning – as it happened
‘We have not seen any reason to adjust our own nuclear posture,’ says press secretary

Chris Stein

07, Oct, 2022 @8:00 PM

Article image
Biden pardons all federal offenses of simple marijuana possession – as it happened
President urges governors to do the same with state offenses: ‘No one should be in a local jail or state prison for that reason’

Maya Yang (now); Chris Stein (earlier)

06, Oct, 2022 @7:58 PM

Article image
FBI was reportedly warned agents were ‘sympathetic’ to Capitol rioters – as it happened
NBC News reports No 2 Paul Abbate received warning about large number of bureau employees in email – follow the latest

Chris Stein

14, Oct, 2022 @8:03 PM

Article image
National security adviser visits Kyiv as US announces $400m in aid to Ukraine – as it happened
Jake Sullivan travels to Ukraine to ‘underscore the United States’ steadfast support’ as aid to include tanks and drones

Chris Stein

04, Nov, 2022 @8:12 PM

Article image
White House says ‘outcompeting China and restraining Russia’ top Biden foreign policy aims – as it happened
National security strategy reveals president’s resolve to build international alliances to strengthen democracy

Richard Luscombe (now) and Chris Stein (earlier)

12, Oct, 2022 @8:07 PM