Democrats to keep control of Senate, CNN plans


Democrats will retain their narrow Senate majority for the next two years, CNN projects, after victories in close contests in Nevada and Arizona.

The party defied the historic trend of midterm elections against ruling parties and overcame anxiety over high inflation, cementing its majority as voters rejected Republican candidates who aligned themselves with the former President Donald Trump and in many cases repeated his lies about widespread voter fraud.

Maintaining control of the Senate is a huge boost for President Joe Biden in the remaining two years of his first term in the White House, with another Senate race underway that will determine the final balance of power in the chamber – and what leverage the president’s party will ultimately have.

“I think it reflects the quality of our candidates,” Biden told reporters in Cambodia shortly after CNN and other news outlets predicted the Democrats would retain their majority in the Senate. “They all run on the same program. There was no one not running over what we did,” Biden continued.

Democrats will have a chance to confirm Biden’s judicial nominees — avoiding scenarios like the one former President Barack Obama faced in 2016, when then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell , declined to hold a vote on its Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. It also means Senate Democrats can reject bills passed by the House and set their own agenda.

With victory in the Senate comes control of the House – where Republicans were 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 a large share of mail-in ballots. Even if Democrats don’t retain control of the House, they could leave the GOP with a small, unruly majority.

After CNN projected Democratic wins in Arizona on Friday and Nevada on Saturday, Democrats now have 50 Senate seats to Republicans’ 49 seats. While it may no longer matter for control of the chamber, Georgia’s Senate runoff will determine how big the Democrats’ majority is.

Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker face off Dec. 6 after neither candidate crossed the 50% threshold on Tuesday.

Biden said he’s “looking forward to the next two years” with Democrats, and said his focus is now on the Senate runoff in Georgia, acknowledging it would be better to have 51 Senate seats .

“It’s just better, the bigger the number the better,” he said.

The Senate is currently split evenly, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the deciding vote, but that means Democrats have no votes to spare.

On Saturday night, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the Democrats’ stranglehold on the Senate a “vindication” of the party’s agenda and said it amounted to a rejection of “anti-Democratic, extremist Republicans.” , MAGA”.

“Oh and one other thing we did that I can’t forget, we stood strong for a woman’s right to choose,” Schumer said, referring to the battle over abortion rights after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

“Because the American people turned out to elect Democrats to the Senate, there is now a firewall against a threatened nationwide abortion ban that so many Republicans have been talking about.”

Only one Senate seat has changed hands so far in the 2022 midterm elections: Pennsylvania, where Democratic Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, who campaigned while recovering from a stroke cerebral in May beat Republican Mehmet Oz, the famous doctor who was endorsed by the former president. Donald Trump.

Democrats defied political gravity to deliver a surprisingly strong midterm performance. CNN exit polls showed 49% of voters who said they somewhat disapproved of Biden voted for Democrats while 45% backed Republicans; of the 38% of voters who said the state of the economy was “not so good,” 62% voted Democrat versus 35% for the GOP.

Republicans successfully defended seats in hard-fought races in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, while Democrats retained their seats in contests in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire.

Ultimately, the battle for control of the Senate was fought in Arizona and Nevada — states with a large share of mail-in ballots and rules that can slow the processing of those ballots.

In Arizona, CNN predicts Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will defeat Republican Blake Masters, a venture capitalist who has been endorsed by Trump and backed by the tech mogul and the emerging GOP megadonor Peter Thiel.

In Nevada, CNN predicts Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, a former state attorney and attorney general, will defeat Republican Adam Laxalt, her successor in the attorney general’s office and son and grandson of former senators.

Masters and Laxalt had at times adopted and repeated Trump’s lies about widespread 2020 voter fraud.

Laxalt served as co-chair of Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign in Nevada and played a leading role in legal efforts to reverse the results of that election, which he said was “rigged.” Cortez Masto had argued that lies and election conspiracy theories embraced by Trump and his allies like Laxalt led to the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Masters released a campaign video while running for the GOP nomination in which he said he believed Trump had won the 2020 election.

After winning the Senate primary, Masters briefly seemed to walk away from some of that extreme rhetoric — cleaning up his website, for example, of language that included the false claim that the election was stolen. . During a debate with Kelly, he also acknowledged that he had not seen evidence of fraud that would have changed the outcome of the election. But the Republican candidate appeared to backtrack after receiving a phone call from Trump urging him to “go louder” on election denial, a conversation that was captured in a Fox documentary.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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