Friday Night Arizona & Nevada Election Updates Boost Democrats

It's almost like the longer it takes to count the votes, the better it is for Democrats...

Image Credits: Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

A highly-anticipated Friday night update of voting results from Arizona’s Maricopa County defied GOP boosters’ predictions by resulting in net losses for Republican candidates. Nevada’s evening releases likewise brought bad news for the GOP. 

The Arizona update prompted Associated Press and other major outlets to declare that Democratic incumbent Senator Mark Kelly has clinched re-election. With two Senate seats still in play in Nevada and Georgia, Democrats are within one victory of renewing control of the upper chamber for another two years. 

The odds of Democrats winning the Nevada Senate race went up on Friday night, as new results, including a batch from Reno’s Washoe County, trimmed Republican Adam Laxalt’s lead to just 821 votes over incumbent Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto.

An estimated 94% of Nevada’s results are in. According to the Nevada Independent‘s Jon Ralston, between 23,000 and 25,000 of the remaining 61,795 votes will come from Las Vegas’s Clark County, where Laxalt has thus far trailed 52% to 45%.

The Arizona governor’s race is still considered too close to call. In the lead-up to Friday night’s Maricopa update, Republican gubernatorial hopeful Kari Lake assured followers that “our votes are about to start.” 

When the numbers hit, however, they boosted Democrat Katie Hobbs’ lead to 31,097 votes. With Democrats having hoped that the latest result would merely not hurt Hobbs too much, even MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki looked genuinely surprised to see the numbers actually helped her.  

The latest batch of votes from Maricopa County — home to Phoenix — was reportedly composed primarily of “early vote drop-offs” — early-voting ballots that voters completed and then brought to a polling station on Election Day rather than mailing them in. 

“When people are told to drop off their early ballot on Election Day, those can’t be counted that night. You can’t just run them through a machine. They have to be signature checked, scanned first, then processed by a bipartisan board before they can be counted,” former Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell told Fox News.  

The governor’s race is not over, though — there’s a chance Lake’s predicted votes for her are still out there. 

Phoenix ABC15 data/political analyst Garrett Archer, a former elections analyst for the Arizona secretary of state, cautioned Democrats against premature celebration, tweeting that there remain “some very, very friendly batches coming for [the Republican] slate in Maricopa.” 

Lake is “very much in this,” he added. About 275,000 ballots remain to be counted in Maricopa, out of about 406,000 statewide.  

While Lake’s Twitter account had been a steady stream of victory-guarantees all week, her only Friday evening tweet after the latest update was a Veterans Day message.   

There was some good news for Republicans on Friday: Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo was declared the winner of the Nevada governor race, dislodging Democratic incumbent Steve Sisolak. With 94% of the vote counted, Lombardo leads 49.2% to 47.0%.