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Live updates — Election Day: DOJ officials to remain outside Missouri polls after state complains – CNBC

Voters across the country are lining up to cast their ballots Tuesday in federal, state and local elections that could shape the U.S. political landscape for years to come.

The midterm elections will determine whether Democrats keep their slim majorities in the House and Senate, or if Republicans will seize control of one or both chambers of the legislature.

The outcome could make all the difference for President Joe Biden, whose legislative hopes rest on whether Democrats can push his agenda through a hyper-partisan Congress.

Millions of Americans will also cast their votes in key races for governor, secretary of state and other offices down the ballot.

Visit NBC News for the latest GovernorSenate and House midterm elections results.

Blake Masters on Arizona Senate race: ‘We’re the underdog but we’re gonna win’

Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Blake Masters speaks during a campaign stop on the Arizona First GOTV Bus Tour, ahead of the midterm elections, in Phoenix, Arizona, November 7, 2022.

Brian Snyder | Reuters

Blake Masters expressed confidence that he would unseat Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly in the hotly contested Arizona Senate race as voters started heading to the polls Tuesday morning.

“We’re the underdog but we’re gonna win,” Masters told conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt.

The Republican Senate candidate said his campaign can fight Kelly to at least a draw in Democratic Maricopa County where Phoenix is located and will win in rural counties.

Spencer Kimball Masters said Democrats have an advantage in early voting but was confident his voters would show up at the polls today.

“We’ve got the momentum. Again, we’re not we’re gonna get complacent,” Masters said.

Masters, in an interview with Fox Business News, accused Kelly of failing to secure the U.S. southern border.

The Republican candidate has come under fierce criticism from Kelly and Democrats for his anti-abortion positions, particularly his previous support for a federal law that would grant the same rights to fetuses as any other person.

Masters has since sought to soften his position somewhat, saying he supports a ban on abortion after the 15th week of pregnancy.

— Spencer Kimball

Trump pick J.D. Vance is confident he’ll win Senate in Ohio

U.S. Senate Republican candidate J.D. Vance speaks as former U.S. President Donald Trump smiles at a rally to support Republican candidates ahead of midterm elections, in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. November 7, 2022. 

Shannon Stapleton | Reuters

Republican venture capitalist J.D. Vance said on Fox News he is confident he will be part of the incoming U.S. Senate freshman class of U.S. senators and he expects his party to win so many seats that the White House will take notice.

“I do expect to be part of the incoming Senate majority on the Republican side,” Vance said. Vance is running in Ohio against Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Ryan for the seat made vacant by retiring Republican Senator Rob Portman.

“Joe Biden will still be president, but I actually think after the shellacking we hope to deliver tonight, I’m hoping the Biden administration will actually work with us.”

Emma Kinery

Herschel Walker says ‘we can avoid a runoff’ in Georgia Senate race vs. Raphael Warnock

U.S. Senate candidate and former football player Herschel Walker speaks at the University of Georgia during his campaign rally in Americus, Georgia, October 21, 2022.

Cheney Orr | Reuters

GOP candidate Herschel Walker said he felt “we can avoid a runoff” in Georgia in his race against Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock.

“We’re looking for a big win tonight,” the former football star Walker said in an interview with The Hugh Hewitt Show.

“People in Georgia, they’re speaking louder, speaking clear, that they want … change,” he said.

If neither Walker nor Warnock garners more than 50% of the vote in Georgia, they will head to a runoff on Dec. 6. Recent polls have shown a very close race.

Warnock, and fellow Georgia Democrat Sen. Jon Ossoff, both won their seats due to runoff elections in January 2021.

Their victories gave Democrats majority control in the Senate. And if the party is to maintain control starting in 2023, it may again require Warnock to win.

Dan Mangan

DOJ officials agree to ‘stay outside’ of Missouri polling sites after complaint from Secretary of State

A Law Enforcement Officer temperature screens voters as they wait in line to cast their ballots on November 3, 2020 at the St. Louis County Board of Elections in St. Ann, Missouri.

Michael B. Thomas | Getty Images

The Justice Department said officials visiting polling sites in Missouri as part of its routine mission to ensure election integrity will “remain outside” after the state’s secretary posted a complaint on Twitter.

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft posted a Nov. 3 email to his Twitter account Sunday from Charles M. Thomas, an assistant U.S. states attorney working for the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division to Steve Korsmeyer, identified by Ashcroft as a clerk in Cole County, Mo., about the officials’ intent to monitor polls on Tuesday.

Korsmeyer had “rightfully declined to allow this over-reach,” wrote Ashcroft, a Republican. “And the secretary of state’s office fully supports him,” he added.

“While the U.S. DOJ could clearly learn a lot from Missouri about non-partisanship and how to administer accessible, secure and credible elections, it would be highly inappropriate for federal agents to violate the law by intimidating Missouri voters at the polls on Election Day,” Ashcroft wrote.

Senior Justice Department officials later told NBC that “Department of Justice staffers will visit Cole County polling sites on election day but have agreed to remain outside.”

—Chelsey Cox

Pennsylvania Senate GOP candidate Oz calls Fetterman “more radical than Joe Biden”

Republican Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz departs from his polling location after voting in the 2022 U.S. midterm election in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania, U.S., November 8, 2022. 

Hannah Beier | Reuters

Democratic Senate nominee Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is “even more radical than Joe Biden,” Republican challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz said on Fox News.

“What I’m hearing is folks are upset that Washington keeps getting it wrong with radical positions,” Oz said. “I’ve been arguing that I stand for balance. I’ll cut through bipartisan bickering, I know how to bring solutions to the forefront, and that’s what people want. They’re angry, they’re frustrated, what they desire is hope.”

Oz added that he thinks the Democrats have “no real agenda for prosperity. That we’re not actually going anywhere with the current Biden agenda — and Biden is – is more moderate than Fetterman.”

Fetterman and Oz are engaged in one of the most closely-watched races in the country that will help determine which party will control the Senate. Fetterman has been outspoken about issues like ending the filibuster to protect voting rights and protecting reproductive healthcare access.

Fetterman’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

— Lauren Feiner

U.S. cyber watchdog sees no imminent threats

People vote at a polling location at Indianola Church of Christ on Election Day on November 8, 2022 in Columbus, Ohio.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

The top U.S. cybersecurity agency doesn’t see any major threats to the midterm elections as voters head to the polls across America, NBC News reported.

The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has been helping state and local election officials prepare for the race over the last two years, a senior agency official told reporters on a call. The official, who asked not be named as part of the terms of the call, said the agency knew of “no specific or credible threats to disrupt election infrastructure today.”

However, the official cautioned: “There are 8,800 election jurisdictions and we see issues pop up every election day.” Low-level cyberattacks against election websites or accidental website outages are always potential issues, the official said, adding “it’s important to remember that such incidents would not affect a person’s ability to cast a ballot.”

— Dawn Kopecki

Biden ‘optimistic’ about the midterm, says Democrats keeping the House will be ‘tough’

US President Joe Biden speaks at a Democratic National Committee event in Washington, DC, US, on Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2022.

Jim Lo Scalzo | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Joe Biden says he’s “optimistic” about the Democrats’ chances on Election Day.

“But I’m always optimistic,” Biden told reporters as he exited Marine One at the White House. The president was returning from a campaign stop supporting Maryland gubernatorial candidate Wes Moore at Bowie State University on Monday night.

“I think it’s going to be tough, but I think we can,” Biden said when asked if Democrats could keep the House. “I think we’ll win the Senate. I think the House is tougher.”

The president said a Republican-controlled Congress would make his reality “more difficult.”

Emma Kinery

Polls open along West Coast

Marshall Bishop, left, and partner Doris Burnett, both of Las Vegas, vote at Desert Breeze Community Center on Election Day in Las Vegas, Nevada on November 8, 2022.

Ronda Churchill | AFP | Getty Images

Polls open in California, Nevada, Alaska and elsewhere in the West at 10 a.m. ET (7 a.m. local time).

Races to watch in these states include Alaska’s incumbent Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who’s facing Kelly Tshibaka, also a Republican, and Democratic opponent Patricia Chesbro for U.S. Senate.

Incumbent Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-N.V., will also defend her Senate seat against former Arizona attorney general Adam Laxalt, who’s been endorsed by former president Donald Trump.

— Chelsey Cox

Pennsylvania Senate hopefuls cast their ballots

Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidates John Fetterman, a Democrat, and GOP challenger Dr. Mehmet Oz cast their ballots in person Tuesday morning. 

Democratic US Senate candidate John Fetterman arrives to cast his ballot at New Hope Baptist Church in Braddock, Pennsylvania, on November 8, 2022.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz enters the polling station at the Bryn Athyn Borough Hall to cast his ballot on November 8, 2022 in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania.

Win Mcnamee | Getty Images

Fetterman voted at New Hope Baptist Church in Braddock while Oz cast his ballot at Bryn Athyn Borough Hall in Huntingdon Valley.

Pennsylvania is one of a handful of Senate seats that’s open due to the retirement of an incumbent senator.

It’s considered to be one of the most hotly contested races in the country with the Cook Political Report reporting the race as a toss up.

The candidates are statistically tied, Oz with a 0.4 percentage point edge, in the Real Clear Politics average.

Emma Kinery

Midterms usually don’t favor the incumbent party

U.S. President Joe Biden is flanked by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in the Hall of Columns as he arrives to mark the first anniversary of the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2022.

Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters

Though President Joe Biden has asked voters to think of the upcoming election as a “choice” rather than a “referendum,” midterms historically have been a referendum on the party in power.

That’s not a great sign for Democrats who control the presidency and both chambers of Congress. Former President George W. Bush was the exception to the trend. Political analysts attribute the GOP gain in the House to the rallying effect post 9/11 attacks.

Here’s how recent presidents’ parties have fared in the U.S. House in the midterm races held during their first terms:

  • Bill Clinton: Democrats lost 54 seats
  • Bush: Republicans gained 8 seats
  • Barack Obama: Democrats lost 63 seats
  • Donald Trump: Republicans lost 41 seats

— Emma Kinery

Biden’s approval rating at 44%, voters slightly prefer Democrats to control Congress in NBC poll

US President Joe Biden speaks about the economy at ViaSat, an US technology company, in Carlsbad, California, on November 4, 2022

Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Biden’s approval rating stands at 44% going into Election Day, according to a poll released Sunday by NBC News.

It puts him in similar standing as former Presidents Donald Trump (46%) and Barack Obama (45%) in the final NBC News/WSJ poll taken before the midterm elections.

The poll, which has a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points among likely voters, found 48% preferred Democrats to control Congress and 47% preferred Republicans. It’s a reverse from October when 48% of likely voters preferred Republicans and 47% preferred Democrats in the NBC News poll. Both are within the margin of error.

— Emma Kinery

Polls open for voters in the Midwest, Mountain regions of the country

A voter drops his ballot into a drop box at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center on November 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Voters in the middle of the country started heading to the polls at 7 a.m. ET in Missouri and lined up for voting starting at 8 a.m. ET in Arizona, both 6 a.m. local times.

The races between Democratic senatorial candidate Trudy Busch Valentine and Republican rival Eric Schmitt in Missouri and incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly and Republican senatorial candidate Blake Masters in Arizona are big ones to watch in these states.

Polls also open at 8 a.m. ET in Wisconsin (7 a.m. local time) where Republican incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson is running against Democratic candidate and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.

Voters choose between Republican incumbent Mike Lee or Independent Evan McMullin for U.S. Senate in Utah, starting at 9 a.m. ET (7 a.m. local time).

— Chelsey Cox

Trump suggests he’ll announce presidential run Nov. 15

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Dayton International Airport on November 7, 2022 in Vandalia, Ohio.

Drew Angerer | Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump said Monday night he will make a “big announcement” on Nov. 15 at his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he is widely expected to launch his 2024 presidential campaign.

“I’m going to be making a very big announcement on Tuesday, Nov. 15 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida,” Trump said at a Save America rally in Vandalia, Ohio on the eve of the midterm elections.

Trump is eager to jumpstart his third run for president, and staffing conversations have ramped up significantly in recent weeks. An early list of potential top aides has already trickled out.

Trump’s line about Nov. 15 came near the end of a more than 90 minute speech for GOP candidate J.D. Vance in Ohio. Instead of focusing on Vance, the former president railed against Democrats, judges who have ruled unfavorably in cases against his family, run down U.S. airports and above all, President Joe Biden.

A Trump spokesman did not respond to a request from CNBC to confirm that his Nov. 15 event will be a campaign launch.

As Trump inches closer to formally kicking off the 2024 presidential race, polls show he enjoys unparalleled support among Republican voters.

Trump would also enter the race with more than $60 million in cash held by his leadership PAC, Save America, and a prodigious small dollar fundraising operation that vacuums up online donations from the Republican base.

— Christina Wilkie

Polls open for voters along the East coast

A man arrives to cast his ballot during early voting for the midterm elections at the Smyrna Community Center in Smyrna, Georgia, November 4, 2022.

Carlos Barria | Reuters

Voters can head to the polls as soon as 6 a.m. ET in Virginia and as early as 6 a.m. ET in New Hampshire, with North Carolina and Ohio following close behind at 6:30 a.m. ET.

Polling places open at 7 a.m. ET for voters in Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan.

Big races to watch in these states are the showdown between incumbent Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic Rep. Val Demings in Florida for U.S. Senate. Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock is also running against controversial Republican first-timer Herschel Walker in Georgia, and incumbent Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer takes on Republican Tudor Dixon for governor of Michigan.

— Chelsey Cox

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