CNN expects Democrats to maintain their slim Senate majority for the next two years after victories in tight contests in Nevada and Arizona.
The party bucked a historic trend of midterm elections against the party in power, overcame anxieties about high inflation and consolidated its majority as voters rejected Republican candidates aligned with former President Donald Trump and in many cases The next repeated his lies about widespread electoral fraud.
Retaining control of the Senate is a huge boost for the remaining two years of President Joe Biden’s first term in the White House, with a pending race in the Senate that will determine the ultimate balance of power in the chamber — and the president’s party The influence will eventually have.
“I think it reflects the quality of our candidate,” Biden told reporters in Cambodia shortly after CNN and other news outlets predicted Democrats would retain their Senate majority. “They’re all running on the same program. There’s nobody that doesn’t do what we do,” Biden continued.
Democrats will have the ability to confirm Biden’s judicial nominee – avoiding the situation that former President Barack Obama faced in 2016 when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to challenge his Supreme Court nominee Merrick Plus. Lan to vote. It also means Senate Democrats can reject House-passed bills and set their own agenda.
The victory in the Senate comes with control of the House – where Republicans are widely expected to win a majority – still up for grabs. Ballots are still being counted in key districts in some states, including California, Arizona and Oregon, with large numbers of mail-in ballots. Even if Democrats don’t retain control of the House, they could leave Republicans with a thin and fractious majority.
Democrats now hold 50 seats in the Senate to Republicans’ 49, after CNN predicted Democrats won Friday in Arizona and Saturday in Nevada. While control of the Senate no longer matters, a Senate runoff in Georgia will determine how big the Democratic majority is.
Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker face off on Dec. 6 after neither candidate broke the 50% threshold on Tuesday.
Biden said he was “looking forward to working with Democrats over the next few years” and said he was now focused on Georgia’s Senate runoff, acknowledging that he would be better off with 51 seats in the Senate.
“It’s just better, and the higher the number, the better,” he said.
The Senate is currently evenly split, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote, but that means Democrats have no remaining votes.
On Saturday night, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called Democrats’ control of the Senate a “defense” of the party’s agenda, saying it amounted to a rejection of “anti-democratic, extremist, MAGA Republicans.”
“Oh, another thing we did that I can’t forget is we stood firm in defense of women’s right to choose,” Schumer said, referring to abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Trump. fight. Wade.
“Because the American people finally elected Democrats in the Senate, there is now a firewall that prevents the threat of a nationwide abortion ban that many Republicans talk about.”
So far, only one Senate seat has changed hands in the 2022 midterm elections: Pennsylvania, the Democratic lieutenant general. Gov. John Fetterman, who entered the campaign after recovering from a stroke in May, defeated Republican Mehmet Oz, a celebrity doctor endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Democrats have defied political gravity with a surprisingly strong showing in the midterms. A CNN exit poll showed that 49% of voters who said they somewhat disapproved of Biden voted for the Democrats and 45% for the Republicans; of the 38% of voters who said the economy was “not so good,” 62% voted for the Democrats , compared with 35 percent for Republicans.
Republicans managed to hold on to their seats in tight races in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, while Democrats held on to tight races in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire. seats.
Ultimately, the battle for control of the Senate fell to Arizona and Nevada — states with large numbers of mail-in ballots and rules that could slow down the processing of those ballots.
In Arizona, CNN expects the Democratic senator. Mark Kelly, husband of ex-astronaut and ex-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the venture capitalist endorsed by Trump and backed by tech moguls and emerging GOP superdonors, will beat Republican Blake Masters Supported by Peter Thiel.
In Nevada, CNN expects the Democratic senator. Former prosecutor and state attorney general Catherine Cortez Masto will defeat Republican Adam Laxalt, her successor in the attorney general’s office and former Senator’s son and grandson.
Both Masters and Laxalt have at times embraced and parodied Trump’s lies about widespread fraud in the 2020 election.
Laxalt, who co-chaired Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign in Nevada and played a leading role in legal efforts to reverse the election, said the election was “rigged.” Cortez Masto has argued that lies and election conspiracy theories espoused by Trump and allies such as Laxalt led to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.
While campaigning for the Republican nomination, Masters released a campaign video in which he said he believed Trump won the 2020 election.
After winning the Senate primary, Masters appeared to briefly back away from some extreme rhetoric — for example, purging his website of language that contained false claims that the election had been stolen. During his debate with Kelly, he also admitted that he saw no evidence of fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election. But the Republican nominee appeared to reverse course after a call from Trump urging him to “get tougher” on election denialism, a conversation captured in a Fox documentary.
This story has been updated with additional developments.