Democrats padded their narrow leads in key Arizona contests on Thursday, but the races for US Senate and governor were still too early to call with about a fifth of the total ballots left to be counted, the AP reports. Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly led Republican Blake Masters by 5.6 percentage points, while Democrat Katie Hobbs had a much tighter lead of 1.4 points against Republican Kari Lake in the governor's race. Democrats also led in the races for secretary of state and attorney general. Election officials in Maricopa County, which includes metro Phoenix and more than 60% of voters, expected to begin reporting results Friday from a crucial group of ballots—nearly 300,000 mail ballots that were returned on Election Day. That group has swung wildly in recent election cycles, from strongly Democratic in the 2018 midterms to strongly Republican in 2020.
Meanwhile in Nevada, key Senate, House, and governor's races also remain uncalled, the AP reports. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat, was trailing in her effort to fend off a challenge from Republican Adam Laxalt. Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak was also in a tight race for reelection against Las Vegas-area Sheriff Joe Lombardo, who was also leading Thursday. Ballots are still arriving by mail, and county election clerks statewide will count mail ballots that are received until Saturday as long as they were postmarked by Election Day, according to state law. Officials have until Nov. 17 to finish the count and submit a report to the Nevada secretary of state’s office. Another 5,555 provisional ballots will also be reviewed starting next week.
Of the 36 governorships that were up for grabs this election cycle, 33 had been called as of early Friday; the three outstanding are Arizona, Nevada, and Alaska, where Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy is leading in a ranked-choice election. As things currently stand, Democrats have secured governorships in 23 of the 50 states to Republicans' 24. Of the 35 Senate seats up for election this cycle, 31 races have been called; other than Arizona and Nevada, results were still pending in Georgia (which will go to a runoff election in December) and Alaska, where a Republican will win—it's just not clear yet which one, due to the state's ranked-choice system. And 403 of the 435 House races have been called; Democrats have secured 192 seats so far to Republicans' 211. The number needed for a majority is 218. (Read more Election 2022 stories.)