It’s official: the Democrats will maintain control of the U.S. Senate for at least the next two years.
Fox News reports that Democrat Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) defeated Republican Adam Laxalt in the race for Nevada’s U.S. Senate seat.
Heading into the weekend, Laxalt maintained a narrow lead over Cortez Masto. But, the votes continued to be counted several days after election day, and, on Saturday evening, Cortez Masto pulled far enough ahead to be projected as the winner.
At the time of this writing, roughly 98% of the vote has been counted, and Cortez Masto received 487,829 votes, or 48.77%, compared to 481,273 for Laxalt, which is 48.11%.
The big picture
Cortez Masto’s victory means that the Democrats will continue to control the U.S. Senate in the future.
There are two possibilities left depending on whether Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) or Republican Herschel Walker wins the runoff election that will be held in early December.
If Walker wins, the Senate will be very much like it has been for the past two years: there will be a 50–50 split with the tie-breaking vote going to Vice President Kamala Harris.
If Warnock wins, then the Democrats won’t need the tie-breaking vote of Kamala Harris. They’ll have a 51-49 majority.
Either way, the Democrats will have control of the Senate — not a lot of control, but enough control to push through whatever measures they can by using budget reconciliation to avoid the Senate filibuster. And, let’s not forget that there are some Senate Republicans who will side with the Democrats at times, even on controversial legislation.
As would be expected, the Democrats, led by Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) are celebrating. Schumer said:
With the races now called in Arizona and Nevada, Democrats will have a majority again in the Senate, and I will be the Majority Leader. This election is a victory, a victory and a vindication for Democrats, our agenda, and for the America and for the American people.
Meanwhile, for Republicans, it’s back to the drawing. Some Senate Republicans are even suggesting that it’s time for the Republican Party to move in a new direction — and, that direction is away from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
The big question now is whether or not the Republicans will win the House, allowing them to thwart the Democrats’ agenda. They appear favored to do so. But, of course, whenever vote counting continues for this long, things tend to trend in the favor of the Democrats.