LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto declared victory Saturday as updated vote totals had her leading her opponent, Republican and former Nevada attorney general Adam Laxalt, by about 7,000 votes — or about 0.7%.
DecisionDeskHQ and the Associated Press called the race for Cortez Masto after Clark County released updated vote totals on Saturday night.
“Thank you, Nevada!” the senator tweeted after the race was called.
Clark County, the state’s largest county and home to Las Vegas, reported new results around 6:15 p.m. Saturday. More results were also released Saturday evening from Washoe County, the state’s second-largest county and home to Reno.
The updated results from Clark County added 14,084 votes for Cortez Masto and 8,239 votes for Laxalt, pushing Cortez Masto into the lead statewide. In Washoe County, Cortez Masto added 5,989 votes to Laxalt’s 4,255.
The difference between the two candidates by Saturday was about 7,000 votes, less than the choice for “None of these candidates,” an option in Nevada elections, which garnered more than 12,000 votes.
Cortez Masto’s re-election secures Democrats’ control of the U.S. Senate with 50 senators, plus Vice President Kamala Harris. A runoff election in the U.S. Senate race in Georgia is scheduled for after Thanksgiving.
Votes released Saturday from Clark County comprised 22,000 mail-in ballots, including a few hundred received Saturday, Clark County Registrar of Voters Joe Gloria said, adding he expected the vote count to be complete Saturday night, except for the provisional ballots and others that needed signature curing.
“Here is where we are — we are up only 862 votes,” Laxalt tweeted before Clark County released Saturday’s results. “Multiple days in a row, the mostly mail-in ballots counted continue to break in higher DEM margins than we calculated. This has narrowed our victory window. The race will come down to 20-30K Election Day Clark drop-off ballots. If they are GOP precincts or slightly DEM leaning then we can still win. If they continue to trend heavy DEM then she will overtake us. Thanks for all the prayers from millions of Nevadans and Americans who hope we can still take back the Senate and start taking our country back.”
Laxalt had not issued a comment on his loss as of late Saturday evening.
“Catherine Cortez Masto has never lost an election and delivered the Democratic majority as Chair of the DSCC in 2020,” campaign spokesperson, Josh Marcus-Blank, tweeted. “After a cycle as the most vulnerable incumbent senator, she proved everyone wrong again.”
Not included in that total are 7,139 that remain in the signature cure process, and 5,555 provisional ballots, of which only the eligible ballots will be added to the count.
Vote totals released from Clark County on Friday afternoon showed the mail-in results leaning toward Cortez Masto by nearly a 2-1 margin. Cortez Masto gained 17,150 votes in Clark County on Friday, compared to Laxalt’s 8,960. Laxalt gained a few hundred more votes as rural Douglas County released more results, but the lead shrank again later in the evening with new totals from Washoe County.
Both Cortez Masto and Laxalt served as Nevada attorney general. Cortez Masto from 2007 to 2015 and Laxalt from 2015 to 2019. Laxalt unsuccessfully ran for governor against Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak in 2018. Cortez Masto was elected as the first Latina in the U.S. Senate in 2017.
In 2020, the Nevada Legislature voted to mail ballots to every registered Nevada voter. Voters can opt-out rather than opt-in to receiving one and instead vote early in person or vote on Election Day in person if he or she wishes.
The process means extra steps need to be taken in the ballot counting process, ensuring signatures on ballots match what’s in the DMV record, that ballots are not spoiled and that no person votes twice.
Former President Donald Trump alleged several times on his Truth Social platform that, without any evidence, there was fraud happening in Clark County. Clark County responded to his comments Thursday, calling his claims, “outrageous” and “misinformed.”
As of Saturday, no candidate’s campaign had contacted the registrar’s office allegedly fraud or issues, Gloria said.
“All of our election systems are certified by the state and federal governments for use in the State of Nevada, and there are several state-required audits done before, during, and after each election, which further ensure the reliability and integrity of the election,” a county spokesperson said.
The former president also endorsed Republican Sheriff Joe Lombardo in the gubernatorial race. Lombardo won his race, which DecisionDeckHQ and the Associated Press called in his favor Friday afternoon.
In 1998, Democratic Sen. Harry Reid won re-election to the Senate with 401 votes over then-challenger Republican Rep. John Ensign. Ensign would run again in 2000, becoming Nevada’s junior senator under Reid, who served as minority and majority leader until 2017.
The vote tallying process is required to be complete by Tuesday with county results submitted to the state by Thursday.
Both Democrats and Republicans encouraged their votes to make sure their ballots were counted. Mail-in votes can be checked through the Secretary of State’s office at nevada.ballottrax.net/voter/.
You can see if you are on the list to have your signature cured by clicking this link and then opening the drop-down menu under Facts, Figures, and Data for Nov. 8, 2022, General Election. Click on Cumulative History of Voters Needing Signature Curing.
Voters with questions can also call (702) 455-6552. The hotline will be open through the weekend during business hours. The Clark County Election Department has until Thursday, Nov. 17 to report to the Secretary of State’s Office, according to state law.