Control of Senate may come down to Nevada, where a slow ballot count entered its final act in the nail-biter contest between Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican challenger Adam Laxalt.

Republican Adam Laxalt (L) was leading by just 800 votes against Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto on November 12 morning.
Republican Adam Laxalt (L) was leading by just 800 votes against Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto on November 12 morning. (Reuters)

Democrats are just one seat away from majority control of the US Senate next year, as vote-counting in deeply divided Nevada continued following Tuesday's midterm elections and campaigning kicked off for a December 6 runoff in Georgia.

The processing of ballots in Clark County, Nevada, which encompasses Las Vegas and is heavily Democratic, was advancing with over 22,000 additional votes possibly counted by late on Saturday, said Joe Gloria, the county registrar.

Such a large new number of votes in the statewide tally opened the possibility that this Senate race could be decided by late on Saturday.

If incumbent Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto manages to fend off Republican Adam Laxalt in Nevada, her party would then control 50 of the Senate's 100 seats.

A Democratic victory in Georgia next month would then give the party outright majority control of a 51-49 Senate. A Democratic loss in Georgia and a win in Nevada would still put Democrats in charge of a 50-50 Senate, as Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris can break tie votes.

The Senate currently is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. The newly-elected Senate will be sworn in on Jan. 3.

As of Saturday morning, with nearly 97 percent of the vote counted in the Nevada Senate race, Laxalt was leading by around 800 votes. However, uncounted votes from Cortez Masto strongholds could vault her to victory.

READ MORE: Control of US Senate up for grabs in close-fought midterm elections

Outcome of House races 

At a press conference, Gloria was asked whether his office had received any complaints of fraud or other irregularities from either campaign. "We haven't heard anything from any campaign related to fraud or questioning" of the process or results so far, he responded.

Suspense over control of the Senate came as it also was still unknown which party will hold the majority in the US House of Representatives for the next two years. Republicans continued to have an edge, but returns were still flowing in for several races, including many in liberal-leaning California.

It could take at least a few more days before the outcome of enough House races are known to determine party control of that 435-seat chamber.

Democrats got an important boost late on Friday when Democratic Senator Mark Kelly was projected to hold onto his seat in Arizona, defeating Republican Blake Masters, who has not yet conceded the race.

Kelly, a former Navy combat pilot and astronaut, delivered a short victory speech to his supporters in Phoenix on Saturday with his wife, former Democratic Representative Gabby Giffords, at his side. His remarks focused on working in Congress in a bipartisan manner.

Tuesday's midterm elections saw many Republican candidates, including Masters, echo former president Donald Trump's contention that he lost the 2020 election to Biden because of massive voter fraud.

No winner was projected yet in the race for Arizona governor, where Democrat Katie Hobbs holds a narrow lead over Republican Kari Lake.

READ MORE: Explained: 2022 US midterm elections

Source: Reuters