Yesterday, we crunched the numbers and concluded that things were looking very good for Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV). Late Saturday, the AP and other outlets reached the same conclusion, and called the race for Cortez Masto. That gives the Democrats 50 seats and, along with Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote, control of the Senate regardless of what happens in the Georgia runoff.
Declaring Cortez Masto the winner was an easy call once Nevada released another set of vote totals. When 90% of the votes were counted, she was down 1% to Adam Laxalt (R). When the next 4% of the votes were counted, all of them mail-in, she made up that 1% gap and so effectively pulled even. Another 4% of the vote was released yesterday, and added almost another 1% to the Senator's total. That made it 48.8% for Cortez Masto (487,829 votes) to 48.1% for Laxalt (481,273) with 98% reporting. That's a lead of 6,556 with roughly 20,000 votes outstanding, which Laxalt cannot overcome. That gap is also big enough that a recount would just be a waste of time and money, so maybe Laxalt won't bother.
As a result of Cortez Masto's win, the Democrats no longer need Sen. Raphael Warnock's (D-GA) seat. But they still want it, of course. With 51 seats, it would be harder for Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) to hold their colleagues hostage. There are certain issues on which the two strongly disagree, like coal (Manchin likes it, Sinema not so much) and raising corporate taxes (Sinema dislikes that idea, Manchin takes the opposite view). Further, an extra seat gives the Democrats an insurance policy against disaster, like Manchin dropping dead of a heart attack and being replaced by a Republican appointee. Obviously, these things will become geometrically more important if the Democrats somehow hold the House, or else are able to build a governance coalition with the non-MAGA Republicans. Still, even if Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and his band of merry MAGAs take over the House and then decide to spend 2 years performing investigative kabuki theater, control of the Senate means the Democrats can approve judges and other appointees. Also, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) would be able to take any show bills that the House Republicans pass and bury them in his desk drawer, sparing his members from taking uncomfortable votes.
And speaking of the House, here's an update of the projections table we ran yesterday:
|Outlet||Rep Seats||Dem Seats||Toss-ups||Net Change|
|The New York Times||211||204||20||Democrats +3|
|The Wall Street Journal||211||204||20||Democrats +3|
|ABC News||211||206||18||Democrats +1|
|CBS News||214||210||11||Democrats +3|
|NBC News||219||216||0||Democrats +2|
As we noted yesterday, NBC is willing to project all 435 seats. As several readers wrote in to note, NBC does include a "margin of error" qualifier. At the time of yesterday's posting, it was ±7; as we write this item, it is ±4.
Besides the House, of course, everyone is also waiting for resolution of the Arizona gubernatorial race. As of 11:00 p.m. PT Saturday, Katie Hobbs (D) has 50.7% of the vote (1,156,448 votes) and Kari Lake (R) has 49.3% (1,122,319) with 88% reporting. That means that to win, Lake would need about 55.5% of the roughly 310,000 votes remaining. When we did this exercise on Friday, that number was 53%. When we did it on Saturday, it was 54%. You don't need us to tell you where this is headed. (Z)