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Forget Election Day 2022. We’re in for an Election Week

First Read is your briefing from “Meet the Press” and the NBC Political Unit on the day’s most important political stories and why they matter.
Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., meets with community members on the first day of early voting on Oct. 17, 2022 in Duluth.
Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., meets with community members on the first day of early voting on Oct. 17 in Duluth.Megan Varner / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — If it’s Thursday ... Democrats worry about fallout from John Fetterman’s debate performance in Pennsylvania Senate. ... “To be honest, doing that debate wasn’t exactly easy, you know,” Fetterman says at Pittsburgh rally, per NBC’s Henry Gomez. … Herschel Walker denies another abortion allegation in Georgia Senate. ... Cook Political Report with Amy Walter moves Arizona Senate back to Toss Up. ... And President Biden travels to Syracuse, N.Y., to deliver his closing economic argument.

But first: NBC News didn’t project Joe Biden winning the 2020 presidential race until four days after Election Day. 

One reason was just how close several of the battleground states actually turned out to be. But the real culprit was the sheer number of mail-in ballots due to the Covid pandemic, combined with state laws prohibiting the early processing and counting of those ballots. 

Well guess what? Some of these states still haven’t revised their laws, and that means that we might not know for days which party controls the U.S. Senate. 

And that’s excluding the potential December runoff in Georgia, which will take place if neither Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., nor GOP challenger Herschel Walker surpasses 50% of the vote. 

Michigan was one battleground state that DID update how it handles absentee ballots, and now some larger jurisdictions can process them before Election Day, meaning a potential faster count. (Still, Michigan’s secretary of state’s office advises that it won’t have completed unofficial election results until 24 hours after polls close.)

But other key states — which could determine Senate control — haven’t changed. 

In Pennsylvania, counties can’t begin to process mail-in and absentee ballots until Election Day (though NBC’s Decision Desk expects this count to take just 1-2 days instead of the 3-4 days it took in 2020). 

The same situation is true in Wisconsin. 

And even in Arizona, which can process early ballots as soon as they come in, it’s typically taken days to project winners (like Kyrsten Sinema in 2018 or Joe Biden in 2020) — until all the votes have been counted if the race is close. 

Indeed, per NBC’s Decision Desk, here’s the percentage of 2020 presidential votes counted by 6:00 a.m. ET the morning after Election Day in these key states:

  • AZ: 81.7%
  • GA: 94.4%
  • MI: 82.0%
  • NH: 75.4%
  • NV: 84.9%
  • PA: 78.0%
  • WI: 97.5%

Bottom line: Brace yourselves for an Election Week, not Election Day.

Tweet of the day

Data Download: The number of the day is … 4

That’s how many rallies with former President Donald Trump were announced on Wednesday, detailing Trump’s travels in the days leading up to Election Day.

On Thursday, Nov. 3, Trump will travel to Sioux City, Iowa for a rally with his endorsed candidates including Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley and Gov. Kim Reynolds. He’ll then head to Pennsylvania for a rally on Saturday in Latrobe, featuring GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano and Senate nominee Mehmet Oz, who have largely avoided each other on the campaign trail

On Sunday, Nov. 6, Trump will hold a rally in Miami with Republican Sen. Marco Rubio. The news release notably didn’t mention Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, a potential 2024 contender who is up for re-election. Trump endorsed DeSantis in 2018 but has not yet endorsed him this election cycle. 

And on the eve of the election Trump will head to Vandalia, Ohio, for a rally with GOP Senate nominee J.D. Vance. GOP Gov. Mike DeWine was not mentioned in the press release announcing the event. During the GOP primary, Trump did not endorse DeWine, who said soon after the 2020 election that Biden was legitimately elected, but Trump did back the governor in September. 

Other numbers to know:

22: The number of House members who are not facing an opponent from the other major party.

$10 million: How much Michael Bloomberg is giving is to House Majority PAC, the main Democratic super PAC that plays in House races, per Politico.

678: How many LGBTQ candidates will be on the ballot in November, per the LGBTQ Victory Fund. For the first time, LGBTQ candidates will be on the ballot in all 50 states.

$440 million: How much Democrats are on track to spend on ads from Labor Day through Election Day in the 13 competitive Senate races, compared to $400 million from Republicans.

3: The number of men found guilty Wednesday of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, D-Mich.

Midterm roundup: Walker denies another abortion allegation

Georgia Republican Senate nominee Herschel Walker has denied an allegation from a new woman that the former football star pressured her into having an abortion.

“Anyone who believes I am coming forward because Herschel is running as a Republican candidate — that is simply not the case. I am a registered independent, and I voted for Donald Trump in both elections,” the anonymous woman, who claims she met Walker in the 1980s and became pregnant in 1993, said during a press conference over Zoom. “I do not believe that Herschel is morally fit to be a U.S. senator. And that is the reason why I am speaking up.”

Walker responded during a campaign stop: “I’m done with this foolishness. I’ve already told people this is a lie, and I’m not going to entertain, continue to carry a lie along.” 

It comes weeks after another woman, who is the mother of one of Walker’s children, claimed he paid for her to get an abortion. 

Read more on

Elsewhere on the campaign trail:

Arizona Senate: Republican Blake Masters is getting a late boost from Saving Arizona, a super PAC partially funded by billionaire Peter Thiel. The group has spent an additional $3.7 million on ads in the race, per the Arizona Republic. 

Pennsylvania Senate: NBC News’ Henry J. Gomez, Jonathan Allen, Marc Caputo and Allan Smith report on the fallout from Tuesday’s pivotal Senate debate. Meanwhile, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman’s campaign raised $2 million from the end of the debate through Wednesday afternoon, and New Mexico Democratic Sen. Ben Ray Luján, who suffered a stroke earlier this year, applauded Fetterman. 

Utah Senate: Former Gov. John Huntsman is out with a new spot for the Club for Growth , in which he praises Republican Sen. Mike Lee’s “unshakable integrity.”

Washington Senate: Republican nominee Tiffany Smiley is out with her closing ad, one that features her husband, who was wounded in combat. In it, Smiley says she fears “we are losing our country” and evokes her husband’s injuries to say she wants to help foster “an America worth giving their eyesight for.” 

Arizona Governor: Authorities are investigating a burglary at a Phoenix campaign office belonging to Democratic gubernatorial nominee Katie Hobbs. 

Pennsylvania Governor: Democratic Attorney General Josh Shapiro has an 9-point lead over GOP state Sen. Doug Mastriano, per a CBS News battleground tracking poll.

Indiana-01: Indiana GOP Reps. Jim Banks and Larry Bucshon told Fox News the Air Force is investigating why personnel records belonging to Republican nominee Jennifer-Ruth Green detailing she was a victim of sexual assault were released. 

Pennsylvania-10: GOP Rep. Scott Perry has dropped a lawsuit against the Justice Department filed after the FBI seized his cell phone earlier this year.

Ad watch: Will the real Mike Doyle please stand up?

In Pennsylvania's 12th District, Summer Lee is out with a new TV ad clarifying that her opponent, Republican Mike Doyle, is not the same person as Democratic Rep. Mike Doyle, the congressman that Lee and Doyle are running to replace.

The ad begins with a narrator saying, “Election alert: Democrat Mike Doyle is not on the ballot. A different, Republican Mike Doyle is.”

The ad goes on to accuse the Republican Mike Doyle of supporting a total ban on abortion, cuts to social services and gun rights.

On Twitter, Lee shared the ad, saying, “Let’s clear up the confusion. I’m running against an extreme anti-choice, pro-NRA Republican who wants to cut Social Security & Medicare. He also shares a name with retiring Congressman [Doyle].”

The ad comes after reportersactivists and voters shared stories of their confusion on Twitter, with some even accidentally voting early for the Republican Mike Doyle, not realizing he wasn’t their current representative.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Attorneys for former President Donald Trump have accepted service of a subpoena issued by the January 6 committee.

Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan has temporarily blocked the enforcement of a subpoena by the January 6 committee that was seeking the phone records of Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward.

Sen. Bob Menendez, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is again under federal criminal investigation, NBC News confirmed Wednesday. Semafor first reported the news.