Policy

With an equally divided Senate, Nevada is one of two indeterminate races that will determine which party controls the chamber.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Left, speaking alongside Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak at the Nevada Democratic Party’s evening election event on Tuesday, November 8, 2022 in Las Vegas. (Photo AP / Gregory Bull) Press association

LAS VEGAS (AP) – With the US Senate in control, protracted voting in Nevada continued until day four on Friday, when election officials measured thousands of votes ahead of Saturday’s deadline to accept late correspondence.

Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto was barely ahead of Republican Adam Laxalt, but with the remaining tens of thousands of unaccounted votes coming mostly from the state’s urban cores, her campaign was optimistic that she could overtake her rival. Meanwhile, Laxalt consistently predicted he would stay ahead as the count dragged on.

“We’re doing everything we can to move the vote forward as quickly as possible,” Joe Gloria, a registrar in Clark County, including Las Vegas, said at a press conference.

Gloria’s office released the 27,000-vote charts Friday night that put Cortez Masto within a few hundred votes of Laxalt, with about 23,000 more votes in the highly democratic Clark County that has yet to be settled.

With an equally divided Senate, Nevada is one of two undefined races that will determine which party controls the House after Democrat Senator Mark Kelly won his candidacy for re-election in Arizona late Friday.

If the Democrats win Nevada, they will take control before the December election in Georgia between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, and Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to break the tie. If the Republicans win Nevada, Georgia will decide to control the Senate.

In another pivotal race, Democratic governor Steve Sisolak lost his re-election candidacy to his Republican rival, Sheriff Joe Lombardo, on Friday night.

Nevada’s counting took several days, partly because of the postal voting system created by the state legislature in 2020, which requires counties to accept postmarked ballots if they arrive up to four days later. Even after the counting is over this weekend, voters have until the end of Monday to “heal” – or fix clerks’ problems – their ballots, allowing them to be added to the final result. Gloria said that in Clark County, where three-quarters of the state’s population lives, there are 9,600 ballots in the “cure” stage.

Nevada, a tightly divided swing state, is one of the most racially diverse in the country, a workers state whose inhabitants have been hit particularly hard by inflation and other economic turmoil

About three-quarters of Nevada voters said the country was headed in the wrong direction, and around 5 in 10 identified the economy as the number one problem facing the country, according to an AP VoteCast survey of 2,100 state voters.

Voters assessed the economy negatively, and VoteCast found nearly 8 out of 10 people saying that economic conditions were not either good or bad. Only about 2 in 10 people rate the economy as excellent or good. And around a third of voters said their families were struggling financially.

But that didn’t necessarily translate to anger at President Joe Biden or his party. About half considered inflation the most important problem facing the United States, but they split equally on whether they believe that higher prices are due to Biden’s policies or factors beyond his control.

Nevada is also a famous live-and-let-live state, and Cortez Masto and other Democrats have made the protection of ab*rtion rights a centerpiece of their campaigns. According to VoteCast, 7 out of 10 people wanted the procedure to be legal in all or most of the cases.

The Republicans, however, ruthlessly stuck to the economic argument, arguing that it was time to change leadership. They also sought to take advantage of the lingering frustrations of the pandemic downtime that devastated Las Vegas’ tourist-oriented economy in 2020.

On Thursday morning, the Associated Press announced Republican Stavros Anthony the winner in the race for governors, while Republican Andy Mathews was elected state controller.

The only Republican state congressman, Mark Amodei, easily won re-election in his predominantly rural neighborhood in northern Nevada. Three Democratic members of the House of Representatives from the Las Vegas area were also re-elected.

Associated Press co-author Scott Sonner of Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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