Briefing

What happened in the key midterm battleground states

Where the races stand in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Nevada

Election Day has come and gone, and most of the races in key battleground states have officially been called, though not all. Here's everything you need to know:

The latest

The Democrats maintained control of the Senate after incumbent Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) beat Adam Laxalt. Democrats also overcame their opposition in other key battleground states, including Pennsylvania and Arizona. The Georgia Senate race has yet to be called and is heading to a runoff in December. The runoff's outcome could ultimately determine how big an advantage Democrats could have to pass legislation through the upper chamber of Congress. With the Republicans gaining control of the House, both parties have a lot riding on the races that remain to be called. 

The Trump-endorsed GOP candidates who supported his election fraud conspiracy theories did not fare well in many key battleground races. Democrats were able to win several critical gubernatorial elections, sometimes blocking an election denier from overseeing future elections. Republicans were victorious in the Georgia and Nevada gubernatorial races, and Democrats won the competitive races in Pennslyvania and Arizona. 

Arizona

Governor: Katie Hobbs (D) v Kari Lake (R)

Democrat Katie Hobbs was able to defeat her Republican opponent, former news anchor Kari Lake. Hobbs won 50.3 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, while Lake earned 49.7 percent. Polls before the election showed a tight race, with the lead bouncing back and forth between the two candidates. 

Hobbs currently serves as Arizona's secretary of state, where political sentiments have historically favored Republicans, reports The Guardian. Lake announced on Thursday that she refuses to concede the race and is considering how to appeal the results. 

"Rest assured I have assembled the best and brightest legal team, and we are exploring every avenue to correct the many wrongs that have been done this past week," Lake said. "I'm doing everything in my power to right these wrongs."

While campaigning, Lake was a vocal supporter of former President Donald Trump and often repeated Trump's false claim that he won the state of Arizona during his bid for re-election in 2020. Before the election, Lake refused to commit to accepting the election results if she were to lose. In an interview for CNN's State of the Union, Lake stated, "I'm going to win the election, and I will accept that result." Additionally, she claimed, "The people of Arizona will never support and vote for a coward like Katie Hobbs." 

Senate: Mark Kelly (D) v Blake Masters (R)

Democrats were also victorious in the Arizona Senate race. Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.) beat Republican Blake Masters and was re-elected as Arizona senator. With 99 percent of precincts in Arizona reporting, Kelly secured 51.4 percent of the vote compared to Masters' 46.5 percent. Pre-election poll results showed Kelly and Masters tied for much of their campaigns.

Kelly outpaced his opponent in raising election funds in the third quarter, according to Federal Election Commission Records, per CNBC. Earlier, a surprising jump in support for Libertarian candidate Marc Victor hinted at further trouble for Masters. At the time, poll results predicted Victor could have earned a significant portion of the vote. Victor ultimately dropped out of the race and endorsed Masters.

Pennsylvania

Governor: Doug Mastriano (R) v Josh Shapiro (D)

Democrat Josh Shapiro won the Pennsylvania governor's race, defeating Republican Doug Mastriano. With 99 percent of the votes reported, Shapiro, the state attorney general, had 56.3 percent compared to Mastriano, with 41.9 percent. The final polls showed Shapiro had a significant lead going into the midterm elections. 

Mastriano, a far-right state senator, has been the center of many controversies since he falsely claimed that Trump had won his state during the 2020 presidential election and was subpoenaed by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Mastriano was photographed outside of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, per The Associated Press

Senate: John Fetterman (D) v Mehmet Oz (R)

The battle for the Pennsylvania Senate seat was one of the most closely followed this midterm season. Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) defeated Trump-endorsed former TV host, Dr. Mehmet Oz. Fetterman won 56.3 percent of the vote with 99 percent of precincts reporting, surpassing Oz's 46.5 percent. Polls showed Oz with a slight lead that appeared to be increasing, but ultimately Fetterman won the race. 

Fetterman is recovering from a stroke he suffered in May, and he recently addressed the debate over the state of his health. In early October, he told a crowd at a rally that he has auditory processing issues and sometimes stumbles over his words, The Washington Post reports. His opponent made his recovery a focus of his aggressive ad campaigns against Fetterman. Oz also called Fetterman soft on crime due to Fetterman's celebratory response to Biden's recent pardon of those with simple marijuana possession charges. 

Fetterman's unsteady performance at the sole televised debate against Oz reignited worries that his health concerns would affect voters' perception of him. Democratic leaders remained hopeful, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer overheard telling Biden, "It looks like the debate didn't hurt us too much in Pennsylvania as of today." Independent candidate Everett Stern dropped out of the race and endorsed Fetterman.

Georgia

Governor: Stacey Abrams (D) v Brian Kemp (R)

Gov. Brian Kemp (R) once again came out on top in his race against voting rights activist Stacey Abrams (D), who conceded the Georgia gubernatorial election again after previously losing to him in 2018. With 99 percent of the votes tallied, Kemp was able to secure another term with 53.4 percent versus Abrams' 45.9. Polls leading up to the election showed Kemp with an early lead. 

Before the election, Abrams admonished Kemp for his pro-life stance on abortion, while Kemp largely avoided the issue to focus on inflation, The New York Times reports. The two candidates faced each other in their first debate since 2018 on Oct. 17. During their second and final debate, the two rivals focused heavily on crime rates, gun rights, and public safety concerns. Abrams urged voters to look at Kemp's track record while in office, while Kemp indicated that she was deflecting from her political past. 

Senate: Herschel Walker (R) v Raphael Warnock (D)

The highly-anticipated Georgia Senate race between Republican Herschel Walker and Democrat Raphael Warnock could not be called, since neither candidate hit the 50 percent vote threshold. The two will face off again in December for a runoff. The race is still being closely watched, as it has the potential to help either party pad their wins. Walker maintained a slight lead in polls before Election Day. 

Walker, who supports strict abortion bans, came under fire when a woman claimed he paid for her to get an abortion in 2009; Republicans and Trump rallied behind him after he deemed the story an outright lie. In a recent debate, Warnock called Walker out for previous false claims he made about being a police officer, despite never having a job in law enforcement, CNN reports. Walker responded by displaying a badge, which he later admitted was an honorary badge, per CNN.

Another woman later surfaced with allegations that Walker pressured her to get an abortion. Walker vehemently denies both women's claims, rejecting them as lies.

Nevada

Governor: Joe Lombardo (R) v Steve Sisolak (D)

The contest for Nevada governor was another competitive race that could have long-term effects on the state legislature's political leanings. Republicans secured the win when Sherrif Joe Lombardo (R) beat incumbent Gov. Steve Sisolak (D). Lombardo, a Trump-backed candidate, was able to keep Sisolak from securing a second term. Lombardo earned 48.8 percent of the vote, with 99 percent of precincts reporting, compared to Sisolak's 47.4 percent.

The final pre-election polls showed a close race, with the two candidates tied as Election Day approached. The win was a bright light in an otherwise disappointing performance from Trump-endorsed candidates in the midterms.

Senate: Adam Laxalt (R) v Catherine Cortez Masto (D)

The Silver State's Senate race ended up being the election that helped Democrats maintain the Senate majority this year. Incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) defeated Adam Laxalt (R), leading to the race for Senate control being called for the Democrats. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Cortez Masto had carried 48.9 percent of the vote versus Laxalt's 48 percent. Late polls showed Laxalt slightly ahead before the election, but he ultimately slipped behind as votes were tallied.  

Former state attorney general Cortez Masto had a historic victory in 2016 when she became the first Latina elected to the Senate. Laxalt is an Iraq War veteran and was endorsed by both Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). 

Update Nov. 17: This article has been updated throughout to reflect the latest results out of the battleground states.

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