A tiny margin separates the two candidates in Nevada’s deciding Senate race, and a GOP strategist told CNN the mood inside Republican Adam Laxalt’s campaign was “awful.”
Different factions in the Republican operation have started the internal blame game, taking it for granted that Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto will soon take the lead, the strategist said. Asked by CNN to describe the current mood, the strategist said “shocked and depressed”.
Publicly, Laxalt laid out what he described as a “narrow” path to victory in a pair of tweets on Saturday.
On Friday night, Laxalt had just an 862-vote lead over Cortez Masto. An early lead for the Republican eroded further on Friday as election workers counted and released the results of more ballots.
“Multiple days in a row, majority-counted ballots continue to break DEM margins higher than those we calculated,” Laxalt wrote. “It reduced our window of victory.”
In Clark County, Nevada’s largest, CNN estimates there are about 24,000 absentee ballots left to count, along with about 15,000 provisional ballots and ballots that need to be corrected.
Laxalt said the race would come down to those ballots, saying “if they continue to have a strong DEM, then (Cortez Masto) will pass us.”
If they’re from GOP-leaning precincts or lightly Democratic areas, “then we can still win,” Laxalt said.
For its part, Cortez Masto’s campaign told CNN the team remains “confident” as they await further results.
The Laxalt campaign responds: Brian Freimuth, Laxalt’s press secretary, responded to CNN’s reports later Saturday, saying, “Our campaign team remains confident and hopeful, and any reporting to the contrary is inaccurate and from the wrong source.”
Why is this important: The Nevada Senate race has been deadlocked for months and could ultimately determine the balance of power in the upper house.
While CNN predicts Sen. Mark Kelly will win his race in Arizona, Democrats must win one more seat: Nevada or Georgia, which is heading to a runoff in December.
Republicans need 51 seats for majority control. The Democrats would have control in a 50-50 tie with Vice President Kamala Harris who would vote in the event of a tie.
See Laxalt’s tweets below: