U.S. Senate hangs on sloth-like vote counting and high-dollar runoff

U.S. Senate hangs on sloth-like vote counting and high-dollar runoff

U.S. Senate hangs on sloth-like vote counting and high-dollar runoff

Control of the U.S. Senate is coming down to a few races that remain undecided including races in Arizona and Nevada, where vote counting is curiously moving at a snail’s pace, and a Georgia race headed for a December runoff.

As of Thursday, two days after Election Day, Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock is headed to a Dec. 6 runoff against Republican challenger Herschel Walker. That closely-watched race has moved to a runoff after neither candidate hit 50% to win.

According to an NBC tabulation of incomplete returns, Warnock is sitting at 49.6% and Walker at 48.3%. Approximately 48,700 votes separated them as of Thursday afternoon. About 44,100 votes remained to be counted to finalize the results.

Looking ahead at the upcoming runoff, pollster Scott Rasmussen predicts Republicans have an edge because Georgia voters realize electing Walker vote could stop Democrats in the U.S. Senate, which is currently a 50-50 split.

“If it’s a choice between helping Joe Biden’s agenda and hurting Joe Biden’s agenda,” he told the “Washington Watch” radio program, “that may outweigh the choice between Walker versus Warnock.”

Walker’s Nov. 8 election totals suggest a lack of enthusiasm among GOP voters, however, since voters gave Gov. Brian Kemp a second term with a 53%-45% win over Stacey Abrams. That Kemp-Walker vote gap is approximately 209,500 votes.

Laxalt could defeat Dem in Nevada

In the Nevada race, GOP challenger Adam Laxalt is slightly ahead of Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto 49.4% to 47.6%, NBC reports. About 15,800 votes separate the two candidates.

Amazingly, Nevada’s one million ballots were still being counted nearly full two days after Election Day with 165,700 ballots still waiting.

A press conference held Thursday demonstrated the media's effort to get clear answers about the number of ballots that remain uncounted, The Washington Free Beacon reported. 

Cortez Masto is serving her first term after winning office in 2016 to succeed the late Harry Reid, but she was viewed by political pundits as a vulnerable incumbent and possible GOP pick-up. Laxalt served one term as Nevada’s attorney general from 2014 to 2019, and he ran for state governor in 2018.

Arizona: 670,000-plus ballots remain uncounted

In neighboring Arizona, Sen. Mark Kelly was maintaining a lead of approximately 95,300 votes when AFN reviewed that race Thursday. But a huge number of ballots, 670,483, remained to be counted in that race, NBC News reported.

Kelly’s lead over Masters was 51.4% vs 46.4% with one-fourth of ballots still uncounted.

Georgia: Millions pour in for runoff

When it became clear Thursday a runoff is coming, Walker’s campaign reported $3.3 million had poured in overnight, and the rookie candidate was hitting the campaign trail today with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz to hold a rally north of Atlanta, Fox News reported.

In a press release, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced Thursday it was planning to spend $7 million on behalf of Warnock in a get-out-the-vote effort that will plead with Democrats in the state to return and vote in the runoff.

Warnock made headlines during the year for leading both Republican and Democrat senators in campaign contributions, which ended up being a whopping $124 million to defend his seat. For that eye-popping fundraising machine, the poised U.S. senator barely edged past a rookie challenger who struggled during his first-ever political campaign.

A year ago, in a similar runoff, Warnock defeated Sen. Kelly Loeffler 51%-49% to put that red-state seat in the hands of Democrats. About 94,000 votes separated winner and loser.