Nov. 12, 2022 US election coverage

By Adrienne Vogt, Matt Meyer, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:34 a.m. ET, November 13, 2022
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10:55 p.m. ET, November 12, 2022

CNN Projection: Democrat Cisco Aguilar will defeat Jim Marchant in Nevada secretary of state race

From CNN's Fredreka Schouten 

Democrat Cisco Aguilar will win the contest for Nevada secretary of state, CNN projects.
Democrat Cisco Aguilar will win the contest for Nevada secretary of state, CNN projects. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal/TNS/Getty Images)

Democrat Cisco Aguilar will win the contest for Nevada secretary of state, CNN projects, defeating Republican Jim Marchant, who repeatedly spread falsehoods about the legitimacy of recent elections in the state. 

Aguilar, a Las Vegas attorney and former aide to the late US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, will be the state's first Latino secretary of state. During the campaign, Aguilar said he wanted to "remove barriers to voter participation" and make elections more transparent "to maintain the public trust." 

But much of the attention in the race focused on Marchant, who falsely attributed former President Donald Trump’s 2020 loss to a “rigged” election in the state and encouraged hand-counting of ballots, rather than the use of vote-tallying machines – a process critics say would lead to chaos and errors in running elections. 

Aguilar will fill an open seat now held by a Republican Barbara Cegavske, who was censured by her party for refusing to go along with false claims pushed by allies of former President Donald Trump that he lost Nevada in 2020 because of widespread fraud.  

Cegavske is term limited. 

Aguilar’s previous roles have included working as general counsel to the management company of husband-and-wife tennis legends Andre Agassi and Steffi Graff and serving on the state’s athletic commission. 

10:39 p.m. ET, November 12, 2022

Sen. Cortez Masto's campaign reacts to her Nevada win: "She proved everyone wrong again"

From CNN’s Rosa Flores and Rosalina Nieves

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto speaks during a gospel breakfast with former President Bill Clinton, on November 6, in Las Vegas.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto speaks during a gospel breakfast with former President Bill Clinton, on November 6, in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP)

Moments after CNN projected Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will keep her Senate seat, the senator's campaign director of communications took to Twitter to say that the first Latina senator has never lost an election. 

“You know who always said we were going to win this race? Catherine Cortez Masto,” Josh Marcus-Blank, the campaign's communication director, tweeted. “So many people outside Nevada counted her out, but she knows her state, she campaigned everywhere, and she just beat the top Republican recruit in the country to deliver the Senate majority.”

Marcus-Blank went on to post, “What did people get wrong about this race? The first Latina Senator knows her community better than anonymous sources. The daughter of a Teamster knows how to fight for working families. And CCM's a former AG — the crime attacks couldn't stick.” 

“Catherine Cortez Masto has never lost an election and delivered the Democratic majority as Chair of the DSCC in 2020. After a cycle as the most vulnerable incumbent Senator, she proved everyone wrong again," he added.

With Cortez Masto’s win, the Democrats will keep their narrow Senate majority for the next two years.

See his tweet:

11:12 p.m. ET, November 12, 2022

Schumer: This election is a "victory and a vindication for Democrats"

From CNN's Sonnet Swire

(CNN)
(CNN)

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the midterm elections and the Democrats' win in his chamber "a victory and vindication" for the party.

"This election is a victory — a victory and a vindication for Democrats, our agenda," Schumer said in remarks from New York, adding that it was also a victory for the American people.

Schumer, who spoke after the Senate race in Nevada was called in favor of incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, said three things helped the Democrats secure the chamber: "One, our terrific candidates. Two, our agenda and our accomplishments. And three, the American people rejected the anti-democratic extremist MAGA Republicans."

Schumer said Democrats had "faith we were talking to what American people really cared about."

"And we knew the negativity, the nastiness, the condoning of Donald Trump's Big Lie, and saying that the elections were rigged, when there's no proof of that at all – would hurt the Republicans, not help them,” he said.

A Democratic majority in the US Senate also means Schumer remains leader in the upper chamber.

“I feel good,” Schumer said. “I feel good for the country because so many people worried – I did – about this democracy, with all the negativity and all the threats and even some people doing violence.”

“America showed that we believe in our democracy, that the roots of democracy are deep and strong, and it will prevail as long as we fight for it,” he added.

Schumer signaled that he would try to work across the aisle in the Senate, but isn’t opposed to taking on legislation “on our own.”

“My first choice is always to do it bipartisan,” Schumer said. “But on issues that really matter to the American people and when the Republicans aren’t being bipartisan, won’t be bipartisan, we try and do it on our own.”

9:47 p.m. ET, November 12, 2022

GOP has "an awful lot of soul-searching" to do after Democrats' win in the Senate, CNN's Gloria Borger says

Following CNN's projection that Democrats will keep control of the Senate, CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger said Republicans now have "an awful lot of soul-searching" to do.

Borger said that this may be the moment that shows that former President Donald Trump "is not a kingmaker any longer."

"This is it. His candidates did not do well. His election denial was not a big issue in this campaign. And I think that Republicans are going to have to do an awful lot of soul-searching about whether they actually ran on issues that were geared to them and how they could have lost the Senate with an election that was about inflation, that was about crime, that was about immigration, yes it was also about abortion rights," she said on CNN.

"But I think that the fact that the Republicans couldn't pull this off is going to force them to go to the couch and have a little bit of therapy and say, 'Why did we do this? Were we following the wrong leaders? And how can we fix this?'" she said.

"One short-term answer might be to tell your voters that they should vote by mail because maybe it is easier and maybe more people do it," she added.

CNN political director David Chalian explained what the win means for President Biden and his administration.

"This is very good news for the Biden administration, because things like judges and Cabinet appointments and what have you, that will not be under the purview of Mitch McConnell to navigate through the Senate, that will be under the purview of Chuck Schumer who will maintain his role of majority leader," Chalian said.

"In terms of the balance of power shifting in Washington, with this Senate projection it doesn't, because the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent figured her path to victory," he added.

9:35 p.m. ET, November 12, 2022

CNN Projection: Democrats will keep control of the Senate

From CNN’s Eric Bradner  

The Capitol building is seen through the American flags in Washington, D.C. on October 20.
The Capitol building is seen through the American flags in Washington, D.C. on October 20. (Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

Democrats will keep their narrow Senate majority for the next two years, CNN projects, after victories in close contests in Nevada and Arizona. Democrats now have 50 Senate seats to Republicans’ 49 seats. 

In Nevada, CNN projects that Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a former prosecutor and state attorney general, will defeat Republican Adam Laxalt, her successor in the attorney general’s office and the son and grandson of former senators.  

In Arizona, CNN projects that Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will defeat Republican Blake Masters, a venture capitalist who was endorsed by Trump and supported by tech mogul and emerging GOP megadonor Peter Thiel. 

Georgia’s race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker is headed to a December runoff after neither candidate cleared the 50% threshold on Tuesday.  

Even if Republicans win the Georgia runoff, though, Vice President Kamala Harris would continue to cast the tie-breaking vote in an evenly divided Senate to guarantee the Democratic majority. 

Only one Senate seat has changed hands so far in the 2022 midterm elections: Pennsylvania, where Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who campaigned as he recovered from a May stroke, defeated Republican Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.  

Republicans successfully defended seats in hard-fought races in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, while Democrats retained their seats in competitive contests in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire.  

More on the Democrats’ Senate win: Retaining Senate control is a huge boost to President Biden over the remaining two years of his first term in the White House.  

It means Democrats will have the ability to confirm Biden’s judicial nominees — avoiding scenarios such as the one former President Barack Obama faced in 2016, when then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold a vote on his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. It also means that Senate Democrats can reject bills passed by the House and can set their own agenda.  

11:13 p.m. ET, November 12, 2022

CNN Projection: Nevada's Cortez Masto will win reelection, allowing Democrats to hold the Senate 

From CNN’s Maeve Reston 

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will win reelection in Nevada, CNN projects,
Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will win reelection in Nevada, CNN projects, (John Locher/AP)

Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will win reelection in Nevada, CNN projects, clinching a critical victory that will allow Democrats to keep control of the US Senate.  

Cortez Masto had long been viewed as one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents as she fended off a challenge from former Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt in a state whose economy had been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and inflation.  

With Cortez Masto — the first Latina senator — securing a second term, Democrats will hold 50 seats and Republicans will hold 49. Democrats are also defending a seat in Georgia, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker are headed to a December 6 runoff. Even if Republicans pick up that seat, Vice President Kamala Harris will still hold the tie-breaking vote, as she does now in the evenly divided chamber. Democrats were able to hold the majority, in part, because they picked up a seat in Pennsylvania, where Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, a Democrat, defeated Trump-backed Mehmet Oz in the contest to replace retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey.  

Control of the US House still hangs in the balance and may not be determined for some time with ballots left to be counted in closely contested races in California, as well as other states. 

 

9:15 p.m. ET, November 12, 2022

Key Nevada county expected to release results from its remaining 22,000 ballots soon 

From CNN's Marshall Cohen 

Ballots are sorted in the tabulation area at the Clark County Election Department during the ongoing election process on November 9, in North Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ballots are sorted in the tabulation area at the Clark County Election Department during the ongoing election process on November 9, in North Las Vegas, Nevada. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Clark County, Nevada, will release results from its remaining 22,000 mail ballots tonight, according to county registrar Joe Gloria.

This batch of results will be released “sometime this afternoon or early evening,” he said earlier today.

Why these votes are key: Clark County is home to Las Vegas and is the largest county in Nevada. Results from the vote-rich county could be pivotal in deciding Nevada’s razor-thin race for US Senate between Republican Adam Laxalt and incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto, which is still uncalled. 

An additional 268 ballots arrived in the mail today, which is the last day ballots can arrive. Only ballots that were postmarked by Election Day will count. 

In addition, there are 7,139 mail ballots that could still be “cured,” Gloria said at a press conference Saturday. That means there was an issue with the ballot — such as a missing signature – that a voter can fix to have their vote counted. Not all of these 7,139 ballots will get “cured,” meaning they won’t all ultimately get counted. 

There are also still 5,555 provisional ballots that need to be adjudicated and potentially counted, Gloria said. Provisional ballots are used when there is an issue at an in-person polling place, like if it’s unclear whether someone is registered or if they show up at the wrong precinct. The county examines the provisional ballots and verifies that the voter was eligible – so some, but not all, of these 5,555 ballots will count. 

9:05 p.m. ET, November 12, 2022

Analysis: Why it takes longer to count West Coast votes

Analysis by Zachary B. Wolf

An election worker carries trays filled with mail in ballots to open and verify at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix on November 11.
An election worker carries trays filled with mail in ballots to open and verify at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix on November 11. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

What’s taking so long to determine which party has control of the US House and Senate? Blame California, Nevada, Washington and the whole vote-by-mail West Coast, really.

Actually, don’t blame them. This is just how elections work in 2022.

Blame an evenly divided electorate: If elections weren’t so close, it wouldn’t take so long to figure out who won.

CNN has still not projected who will control either the House or the Senate in large part because of close races on the West Coast.

Read this more detailed report on the latest state of play from CNN’s Jeremy Herb.

Probably worth the wait: The benefit of knowing who won on Election Day is arguably outweighed by allowing more people access to the vote and the cost savings of not having to staff so many polling places.

Bill Gates, the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, told CNN’s Sara Sidner on Thursday why it takes longer to count mail-in ballots and those placed in ballot drop boxes in the days immediately prior to and on Election Day. Maricopa is Arizona’s most populous county that includes Phoenix.

“This is how we run elections in Arizona,” Gates told Sidner. “If people don’t like that, they can go to the legislature and have them pass new laws.”

It’s a process that’s been in place in Maricopa County since the 1990s, he said. It’s also overseen by both Republican and Democratic Party officials.

Verifying signatures: With election officials visible, busily working behind him at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center, Gates said those mail-in ballots that were dropped off right before and on Tuesday don’t even start the important process of signature verification until the Wednesday after Election Day.

“We have experts here who go through, compare the signature on the outside of the ballot envelope with the signature that we have in our voter registration file,” Gates said. “That takes a while because we got to get that right.”

Most states have some sort of signature verification system for their absentee and mail-in ballots, according to a tally from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Keep reading here.

8:30 p.m. ET, November 12, 2022

Where things stand in the Arizona governor's race as new vote counts come in

Tabulators process ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix, on Saturday.
Tabulators process ballots at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center in Phoenix, on Saturday. (Alex Gould/The Republic Tab Center/Reuters)

An estimated 290,000 votes are yet to be counted in Arizona, and the governor's race is still on the line.

The vast majority of these votes are in Maricopa County, CNN political director David Chalian explains.

Republican candidate Kari Lake needs in the range of 55 to 57% of that outstanding vote, Chalian said.

Watch him break down the numbers: