US midterms 2022: Democrats’ Senate hopes grow as vote count

Key events

Meanwhile in Alaska, the state’s Democratic House representative is warning that it could be a while before voters learn whether she’s won election to a full term:

Alaska’s ranked choice voting system has made calling their elections particularly complex, and the Anchorage Daily News says don’t expect the final results in Peltola’s race until 23 November. Their preliminary data shows her in the lead over Republican challenger Sarah Palin – yes, that Sarah Palin, the one-time vice-presidential nominee known for her folksy brand of conservatism.

Peltola won a special election in August to replace Alaska’s longtime Republican House representative Don Young, who died in office.

Biden exhorts other nations to join US in climate pledges, action

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Guardian US climate reporters Oliver Milman and Nina Lakhani report from Egypt.

Joe Biden has implored countries to do more to tackle the climate emergency, telling the Cop27 summit that world leaders “can no longer plead ignorance” and that time to confront the crisis is running out.

Biden told a large crowd of delegates at the talks, held in Egypt, that the “science is devastatingly clear – we have to make progress by the end of this decade.” The US president stated that America was taking action on cutting planet-heating emissions and that other major economies needed to “step up” to avoid a disastrous breach of 1.5C in global heating.

Joe Biden delivers a speech during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly known as COP27, at the Sharm El Sheikh International Convention Centre, in Egypt’s Red Sea resort.
Joe Biden delivers a speech during the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more commonly known as COP27, at the Sharm El Sheikh International Convention Centre, in Egypt’s Red Sea resort. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

“Let’s raise both our ambition and speed of our efforts,” he said in his speech on Friday in Sharm el-Sheikh. “If we are going to win this fight, every major emitter needs to align with 1.5C. We can no longer plead ignorance of the consequences of our actions or continue to repeat our mistakes. Everyone has to keep accelerating progress throughout this decisive decade.”

Biden, buoyed by better than expected midterm elections for Democrats this week, said that governments need to “put down significant markers of progress” in reducing emissions. Scientists have warned that the world is heading for disastrous levels of global heating, with emissions still not falling fast enough to avoid severe heatwaves, wildfires, droughts and other impacts of the climate crisis.

“It’s been a difficult few years; the interconnected challenges we face can seem all-consuming,” said Biden, who accused Vladimir Putin of using “energy as a weapon” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an action that has caused energy and food prices to soar globally. “Against this backdrop, it’s more urgent than ever that we double down on our climate commitment.”

You can read the full report here.

The climate challenges we face are great, but our capacity is greater.

The global leaders of the COP27 must reach out and take the future in our hands to make the world we wish to see and that we know we need – and preserve our planet for generations yet to come.

— President Biden (@POTUS) November 11, 2022

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

Four of the five supreme court justices who overturned the constitutional right to abortion showed up at the conservative Federalist Society’s black-tie dinner marking its 40th anniversary, the Associated Press writes.

Justice Samuel Alito got a long, loud ovation Thursday night from a crowd of 2,000 people, most in tuxedos and gowns, when another speaker praised his opinion in June that overturned Roe v Wade, long a target of judicial conservatives.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito speaks during the Federalist Society’s 40th Anniversary dinner at Union Station in Washington.
Justice Samuel Alito speaks during the Federalist Society’s 40th anniversary dinner at Union Station in Washington. Photograph: José Luis Magaña/AP

At a moment when opinion surveys show that Americans think the court is becoming more political and give it dismal approval ratings, the justices turned out to celebrate the group that helped then-president Donald Trump and Senate Republicans move the American judiciary, including the supreme court, to the right.

The Federalist Society has no partisan affiliation and takes no position in election campaigns, but it is closely aligned with Republican priorities, including the drive to overturn Roe.

Justice Amy Coney Barrett and Alito offered brief remarks that steered well clear of the court’s work, though Alito praised the Federalist Society for its success in the Trump years and hoped it would continue. “Boy, is your work needed today,” he said.

Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett speaks during the Federalist Society’s event.
Justice Amy Coney Barrett speaks during the Federalist Society’s event. Photograph: José Luis Magaña/AP

Barrett’s only allusion to the abortion case came when she responded to the crowd’s roar of approval when she was introduced. “It’s really nice to have a lot of noise made not by protesters outside my house,” she said.

Abortion protections were on the ballot in some states in the midterm elections earlier this week.

The day so far

Three days after the midterm election, we’re still awaiting the results of Arizona and Nevada’s Senate races, which will be crucial to determining control of the chamber. The majority in the House is similarly uncertain, though it looks like Republicans have a better shot than Democrats at taking the majority for the next two years. Meanwhile, Donald Trump appears ready to announce a new run for the White House on Tuesday, even as some in the GOP question whether he’s the right candidate to continue leading the party.

Here’s more of what we’ve learned so far today:

  • Trump has gone after a number of Republicans on social media today, including Florida governor Ron DeSantis and Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin.

  • Why is the Guardian’s count of Senate seats different from the AP’s? This is the reason why.

  • One Democratic pollster explained why he believed his party would do well all along. Another explored the reasons why Democrats performed better on the issue of crime than he expected.

In the days before the election, another veteran Democratic pollster predicted a rough night for the party, in part due to frustration over crime.

Writing in The American Prospect, Stanley B Greenberg, who played a part in Bill Clinton’s successful White House campaign, argued that Democrats had failed to convince voters of their ability to stem rising crime. So bad was their handling of the issue that many voters believed the party wanted to defund the police, even though many Democrats reject the idea.

Greenberg spoke to New York Magazine in an interview published today about the reasons why Democrats ended up doing better in the midterms than his analyses predicted:

It’s important not to take the wrong lessons from the fact that we were saved by late partisan polarization, which reflects the post-2016 era where we have high turnout and consolidation of both parties. A lot of moderate Democrats in our October poll said they were voting for Republicans, about twice as many Republicans who said they were voting for Democrats. But that disappeared in the intense partisan polarization at the end. And that was driven on the Democratic side by worries about abortion, Social Security, and democracy. On Tuesday, about 3% of Democrats voted for Republicans and about 3% of Republicans voted for Democrats. A quarter of people in our survey said they made up their mind on the last day, or in the last few days before the election, which we’ve never had before. So we were on a knife’s edge, and it could have been and was poised to be much worse.

He also addressed why his prediction about the crime issue does not appear to have come true:

If you look at the candidates who won, they addressed the crime problem early on and spent a lot of money being clear that they were against defunding the police, and being clear that they opposed those in the party who are advocating it. Voters believe that we wanted to defund the police. And so if you didn’t make your message almost entirely about respect for police and funding the police, you were not going to make any progress.

I’m actually surprised how much voters are open to rethinking Democrats on crime, but not in the context of this election, where Democrats were mostly saying the wrong thing. They were making the issue more important, but without the right message. The national Democratic message was block grants for more police, banning assault weapons — a range of government programs that our data showed hurt us. If you look at what happened in New York, they led with that kind of messaging.

The Democrats’ success in Tuesday’s elections took many by surprise. But not Simon Rosenberg.

The veteran Democratic pollster and president of the NDN and New Policy Institute think tanks has been arguing for weeks that his party would perform better than polls indicated in the midterms, and ended up being more right than wrong.

Yesterday on Twitter, he shared some thoughts about what propelled Democrats to their surprisingly strong showing:

Happy Thursday all!

Some thoughts about the election:
– Big miss was on Dem/GOP intensity, abortion
– 3rd straight disappointing election for MAGA/Trump
– Rs denigration of early vote a mistake
– AZ, NV encouraging
– Please give to Warnock today! 1/

— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) November 10, 2022

Before I dive in, it’s worth reviewing our core election arguments. Will be referencing the elements in the thread below. So take a moment to read through it. Holds up pretty well. 2/

— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) November 10, 2022

Now believe fundamental miss of the cycle was the ignoring of the signals about D and R intensity.

Ds had showed intensity all summer/fall. R’s didn’t. Then Ds crushed it in early vote. Rs struggled. Was a clear sign.

But somehow we got red wave. 3/

— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) November 10, 2022

And of course the thing which drove the Dem intensity was GOP extremism on abortion.

It was really important to Rs that they erase notion abortion could drive US politics. Ideological implications of this dire for them.

It was pure gaslighting. 4/

— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) November 10, 2022

Will be interesting for us learn in coming days whether Rs really believed there was a red wave coming or they knew it was all bullshit.

Looking back big flood of R happy polls may be sign they knew they were having intensity issues. 5/

— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) November 10, 2022

One area we have to explore together is what a political disaster MAGA/Trump has been for Rs:
– lost Presidency/Senate/House in 18/20
– Disappointing 22
– Huge R defections across US, fractured coalition
– Attack on voting/early vote costly
– Candidates couldn’t raise money 6/

— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) November 10, 2022

The GOP’s crazy attack on our elections not only reminded voters every day that they’d lost their mind as a party, but it also gave Ds a huge tactical advantage as we banked huge early vote leads across US.

“Election denialism” is a disaster for Rs. 7/

— Simon Rosenberg (@SimonWDC) November 10, 2022

Have you heard of Chase Oliver? Democratic and Republican party leaders in Georgia certainly have. The Libertarian candidate garnered 81,000 votes in the tight race for Georgia’s Senate seat, which will now go to a run-off, in part because of his presence on the ballot. Here’s more about the “armed and gay” politician, from The Guardian’s Andrew Lawrence:

The morning after the midterms, Chase Oliver was back at work. “That’s what most other Georgians have to do after an election,” he tells the Guardian. “I have a job and have to pay rent and the bills.”

Oliver, 37, has two jobs, actually – one as a sales account executive for a financial services company and another as an HR rep for a securities firm. And as he toggled between email replies and Zoom interviews from his north-east Atlanta home, with three cats and a dog, Delilah, underfoot, you’d never suspect this natty, young Georgian had thrown a spanner into the cogs of American power. “You are possibly the most hated man in America right now,” read one post to his Facebook page.

Oliver was the third candidate in Georgia’s US Senate race: a pro-gun, anti-cop, pro-choice Libertarian who proudly announces himself as the state’s first LGBTQ+ candidate – “armed and gay”, he boasts. And on Tuesday night, this surprise spoiler scored an historic upset of sorts, siphoning enough support away from the Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and his Republican challenger Herschel Walker to force the election to a 6 December runoff – Georgia’s second in as many election cycles. Until then, there’s no telling whether the Democrats will retain control of the Senate.

Vote counting is proceeding at an agonizingly slow pace in Nevada, where Democrats are locked in tight races to keep a Senate seat and the governor’s mansion.

For an idea as to why, take a look at this explainer from the Associated Press:

The vote counting is taking days, but that’s not abnormal for Nevada, where a chunk of votes have previously not been tallied until after election night. In the two most populous counties, officials warned up front that it would take days to process the outstanding ballots.


A few things have slowed Nevada’s vote counting in recent elections.

First, Nevada has also had problems with long lines of voters at poll close, although Nevadans have traditionally opted to vote early. The state won’t release vote counts until all voters who were in line at poll close have cast their vote.

Second, in 2020, Nevada greatly expanded absentee voting, sending a ballot to every registered voter. The state passed legislation to do that in future elections as well.

Also that year, nearly 15% of Nevada’s vote was not reported until after election night — and it took three days for the state to report 100% of the vote.

This year, voting officials in the two most populous counties, encompassing the population centers of Las Vegas and Reno, warned it would take days to process the outstanding ballots.

County election clerks will count mail ballots received until Nov. 12 as long as they were postmarked by Election Day.

Officials have until Nov. 17 to finish the counting and submit a report to the Nevada secretary of state’s office, according to state law.

The state has no mandatory recount law.

Joanna Walters

Joanna Walters

All eyes are on media results trackers as Arizona and Nevada’s Senate races inch closer to official results and news on control of the House looms.

So a quick note about Alaska…

Readers who like to pick ‘n’ mix may have noticed that the Guardian and the New York Times currently have the Senate decided 48 to 48, Democrats vs Republicans in the 100-seat chamber, but CNN on screen and online is showing the GOP at 49 seats.

That’s down to Alaska, where ranked choice voting is used. There isn’t a winner projected yet by the Associated Press, on which the Guardian blog, stories and tracker rely, but the AP acknowledges the race is tight and is now between two Republicans, incumbent Lisa Murkowski and Trump-backed challenger Kelly Tshibaka.

Republican U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski stands with supporters on U.S. election night in Anchorage.
Republican U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski stands with supporters on U.S. election night in Anchorage. Photograph: Kerry Tasker/Reuters

AP on Thursday noted: “Exactly who’ll win Alaska’s US Senate contest isn’t clear, but it will be a Republican.”

So the GOP do have 49 Senate seats nailed down, but we’ll wait for AP to name a winner in Alaska before we recalculate our AP-driven special live results tracker.

What about the P-word? Mary Peltola is ahead of Sarah Palin in the Alaska House race.

U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola waves a sign during the morning rush hour in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday Nov. 8. Peltola, who became the first Alaska Native elected to Congress when she won a special election earlier this year, faced Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich and Libertarian Chris Bye in the midterms general election. Final result awaited.
U.S. Rep. Mary Peltola waves a sign during the morning rush hour in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday Nov. 8. Peltola, who became the first Alaska Native elected to Congress when she won a special election earlier this year, faced Republicans Sarah Palin and Nick Begich and Libertarian Chris Bye in the midterms general election. Final result awaited. Photograph: Mark Thiessen/AP

Remember her? Still touting “drill, baby, drill.”

Trailing Peltola now, here’s former Alaska governor and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Anchorage on election day.
Trailing Peltola now, here’s former Alaska governor and former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin in Anchorage on election day. Photograph: Kerry Tasker/Reuters

If you couldn’t tell from his social media posts, CNN confirms it: Trump is “cranky”.

That’s according to this story that gets into the intra-family drama playing out ahead of Saturday’s planned wedding of the former president’s youngest daughter, Tiffany Trump. Donald Trump is, of course, expected to attend, but CNN reports he’s distracted by his “special announcement” set for Tuesday, which will likely be where he makes public a new campaign for the White House in 2024.

As for what’s fueling Trump’s annoyance, CNN chalks that up to the underperformance of his candidates in Tuesday’s midterms, and the handful of calls from Republicans for the ex-president to step aside.

Next up on Trump’s hit list is Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin.

Last year, Youngkin managed to win the governor’s office in a state that typically leans Democratic. In a post on this Truth social network Trump said Youngkin “couldn’t have won without me.”

“I Endorsed him, did a very big Trump Rally for him telephonically, got MAGA to Vote for him – or he couldn’t have come close to winning. But he knows that, and admits it. Besides, having a hard time with the Dems in Virginia – But he’ll get it done!”

Trump began his post by misspelling Youngkin’s name as “Young Kin (now that’s an interesting take. Sounds Chinese, doesn’t it?).”

Yesterday, Virginia’s lieutenant-governor Winsome Sears called Trump “a liability” for Republicans, and said if he ran in 2024, she “could not support him.”

Trump attacks DeSantis with baseless claim of fraud, FBI involvement

Donald Trump has spent the past hours having something of a public meltdown, and directing his ire towards various Republicans who offended him.

Last night, the target was Florida governor Ron DeSantis. In a statement, Trump claimed he sent federal agents to stop vote rigging during Florida’s 2018 election, in which the Republican narrowly beat Democrat Andrew Gillum for the governor’s mansion.

“I was all in for Ron, and he beat Gillum, but after the Race, when votes were being stolen by the corrupt Election process in Broward County, and Ron was going down ten thousand votes a day, along with now-Senator Rick Scott, I sent in the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys, and the ballot theft immediately ended, just prior to them running out of the votes necessary to win. I stopped his Election from being stolen,” Trump wrote in a diatribe that called DeSantis “Ron DeSanctimonious”.

There is no evidence of tampering with Florida’s 2018 election. There is, however, evidence that DeSantis had a much better Tuesday evening than Trump. He was re-elected as Florida’s governor by a big margin, on a night in which Republicans performed well statewide. Meanwhile, several of the former president’s handpicked candidates across the country came up short, and a few Republicans have since broken the party’s wall of support for Trump, and called for the GOP to move on.

That would be a boost to DeSantis, who is widely seen as mulling his own run for the White House in 2024. His campaign could pose the most serious challenge to Trump for the Republican nomination.

Oliver Milman

Oliver Milman

Joe Biden departed Washington yesterday evening for Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, where he’s minutes away from addressing the Cop27 climate summit.

The Guardian’s Oliver Milman is covering the event, and you can tune in to our live blog for full coverage of Biden’s speech:

Donald Trump’s plan to announce a new presidential campaign is causing controversy among some Republicans who worry it will jeopardize their chances of winning Georgia’s Senate runoff, Hugo Lowell reports:

Donald Trump’s top political staffers at Mar-a-Lago are pressing him to move forward with his planned 2024 presidential campaign announcement next week but a chorus of allies are suggesting delaying until after the Senate runoff in Georgia in December, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The former US president has been forced to reckon with Republican blame for underwhelming performances from rightwing candidates he endorsed in the midterm elections, with the defeat of Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, contributing to uncertainty over which party will control the Senate.

Trump has suggested publicly that he intends to announce his 2024 presidential campaign next week as planned. Behind the scenes at Mar-a-Lago, in a sign of concern about his standing after disappointing results in the midterms, he remains undecided on how to proceed. However, some initial invites for the “Special Announcement” event have been sent.

Trump’s top staffers have firmly pressed him to announce his latest White House campaign as planned on Tuesday, the sources said, suggesting that he would appear weak and wounded by the results were he to cave to demands that he hold off until the Senate runoff early next month.

Trump also has no upside in waiting until the Senate runoff, where his handpicked Republican candidate Herschel Walker trails Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock. His staffers are said to have told him: if Walker wins, he can take credit, and if Walker loses, his position would be no different.

If Republicans win a majority in the House, Kevin McCarthy could be the man to lead it for the next two years. The Guardian’s Edward Helmore reports on McCarthy’s conversation with Joe Biden yesterday, and the president’s acknowledgment that Democrats face long odds in keeping the chamber:

The eyes of the political world remained focused on Arizona and Nevada on Friday, where hundreds of thousands of uncounted votes held the key to control of the US Senate, three days after Americans cast their final ballots in midterm elections.

The delay in districts such as Arizona’s Maricopa county, which includes Phoenix, is attributed to the record number of ballots cast on Tuesday. Election officials had estimated they would have a tally by Friday but now say they will count through the weekend.

In Nevada, election officials had estimated a finish by Friday but, again, the high number of ballots cast means counting will continue through next week. However, a winner could be called as soon as any candidate is judged to have passed a majority threshold.

The Associated Press has not called the Senate races in Nevada and Arizona, where Democratic incumbents are fighting for re-election.

But the Cook Political Report has weighed in on Arizona, saying that Democrat Mark Kelly won his race:

I’ve seen enough: Sen. Mark Kelly (D) wins reelection in #AZSEN, defeating Blake Masters (R).

— Dave Wasserman (@Redistrict) November 11, 2022

Nevada conducted its election mostly by mail, and is slowly releasing the results of ballots that have been counted. According to the Nevada Independent, the results are looking good for Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto in her bid for another term against Republican Adam Laxalt – but it’s not over yet:

Good morning from The #WeMatter State, and Happy Veterans Day, especially to those who served.

Here’s where we are:

Laxalt leads by 9K statewide over CCM.

The news of this early AM is below, and let me tell you what it means.


— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 11, 2022

This is part of the 57K mail ballots (there are actually more but wait) to be counted in Clark.

Those first 35K will put a huge dent in Laxalt’s lead, and CCM, if indies are breaking to Ds as they have been, will pick up more than 6K.


— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 11, 2022

If CCM continues pace of getting 60 percent and Laxalt gets 35 percent, she will pick up 9K in this batch alone.

If it’s 55-40, she will add more than 5K.

The margin could be greater (65-30?).


Bottom line: Unless trend suddenly shifts, this batch will help her a lot.


— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 11, 2022

So what else is left?

Laxalt is still going to gain 2-4K in rurals — super-red Douglas should post a few thousand ballots today.

There are still 20K or so to count in Clark and 20K in Washoe — minus whatever ballots need to be cured — and that 40K batch should help her.


— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 11, 2022

The ballots needing to be cured — mail that has signature problems, for example — also favor Dems. Culinary, others running intense campaigns to get those voters to fix their ballots so they can be counted.

Via @JohnRSamuelsen:

— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 11, 2022

There are also 5.5K provisional ballots, many of them from first-time voters, young folks. Those are thought to favor the Dems, too.

Laxalt’s best chance to hang on in the face of this blizzard of mail votes is for the margins to go down and rural margins/volume to be huge.


— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 11, 2022

Bottom line: This first batch of 35K mail ballots shows a partisan breakdown that strongly favors CCM, and if the trend continues, she is going to win.

But miles to go before I can finally sleep, and we will know a LOT when Clark/Washoe post tonight.

Good morning!


— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) November 11, 2022

We do not know all the results of the midterms, but we do know that Joe Biden will be president until January 2025. So let’s go through a few scenarios about how the outcomes of the still-uncalled House and Senate races will affect his presidency.

Democrats seem to be on course to win the Senate again, which is a significant prize for any president. Besides passing laws, the chamber is tasked with confirming the White House’s nominees – including supreme court justices, federal judges and cabinet secretaries. The last time Republicans controlled the chamber under a Democratic president, Barack Obama, they held up nominations of judges and most famously refused to consider his nominee for a vacant supreme court seat, which ended up being filled by Donald Trump. Keeping control of the chamber would be majorly helpful to Biden, even if he doesn’t have the House.

Congress’s lower chamber has fewer unilateral powers than the Senate, and was always seen as unlikely to remain in Democratic hands after the midterms. That does not mean the party is out of contention there. Several races remain to be called, and a return to power by Biden’s allies is still possible – though as this thorough Politico piece makes clear, it will be harder for them to pull that off than for the GOP to regain the majority.

The most likely outcome at this point appears to be a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate and a small Republican majority in the House, similar to the situation Trump faced from 2019 to 2021. If that happens, expect the House GOP to pass lots of bills that the Senate will ignore, as its Democratic leaders focus on confirming judges and whatever other nominees the White House sends them.

If Republicans take both House of Congress – aided by wins in Nevada and Georgia’s still-to-be-determined Senate elections – then Biden will probably be using his veto pen repeatedly over the next two years against whatever legislation they manage to pass. But if Democrats somehow defy the odds and pull off a history-making victory in both chambers, Biden will get another shot at accomplishing a laundry list of priorities – including codifying abortion protections that previously were guaranteed by Roe v Wade, which the president said would be the first bill he sends to the new Congress.

Democrats edge towards Senate majority as counting continues

Good morning, US politics blog readers. Ballots are still being counted three days after Tuesday’s midterms, and it seems like Democrats may have a shot at taking control of the Senate again. While the Associated Press hasn’t called the race, there are signs that senator Mark Kelly has won reelection in Arizona, though the fate of Nevada’s Catherine Cortez Masto is still up in the air. If both triumph, Joe Biden’s allies win control of the chamber for another two years. But if only one does, the run-off election for Georgia’s Senate seat set for 6 December will determine control. And that’s to say nothing of the House, where several key races are yet to be called. What a week.

Here’s a look at what’s going on today:

  • Democrats worried they could lose the governor’s mansion in blue-state Oregon amid a backlash over crime, homeless and the state’s unpopular incumbent. Their fears were allayed last night when the Associated Press called the race for Democrat Tina Kotek.

  • Far-right Republican Lauren Boebert is edging closer to reelection despite a surprisingly strong challenge from Democrat Adam Frisch.

  • In Nevada’s Senate race, Democrat Cortez Masto is slowly cutting into her Republican challenger Adam Laxalt’s lead as mail-in ballots are counted.