WASHINGTON (Guardian) -- The eyes of the political world remained focused on Arizona and Nevada on Friday, where hundreds of thousands of uncounted votes held the key to control of the U.S. Senate, three days after Americans cast their final ballots in midterm elections.
The delay in districts such as Arizona’s Maricopa county, which includes Phoenix, is attributed to the record number of ballots cast on Tuesday. Election officials had estimated they would have a tally by Friday but now say they will count through the weekend.
In Nevada, election officials had estimated a finish by Friday but, again, the high number of ballots cast means counting will continue through next week. However, a winner could be called as soon as any candidate is judged to have passed a majority threshold.
If Democrats or Republicans can capture a majority by sweeping the contests in both states, it will settle control of the Senate. A split, however, would transform a December 6 runoff Senate election in Georgia between incumbent Democratic senator Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker into a proxy battle for the chamber, which among other powers holds sway over Joe Biden’s judicial appointments.
Meanwhile, Republicans were slowly inching closer to wresting control of the House of Representatives from Biden’s Democrats, which would in effect give them veto power over his legislative agenda, allow them to launch investigations into his administration and have greater control over the budget.
Republicans had secured at least 211 of the 218 House seats they need for a majority, Edison Research projected late on Thursday, while Democrats had won 197. That left 27 races yet to be determined, including a number of close contests.
The Republican House leader, Kevin McCarthy, has already announced his intention to run for speaker if Republicans win, an outcome he described as inevitable on Wednesday.
But his path could be blocked by a handful of conservative Republicans known as the Freedom Caucus. McCarthy needs 218 votes, so