Democrats have remained in control of the Senate after a key race in Nevada was declared in their favor, cementing the party’s broadly-beating midterm performance.
U.S. Democratic Senator Kathryn Cortez Masto has now defeated Republican challenger Adam Laxalter, a former state attorney general backed by former President Donald Trump, the Associated Press said.
Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly won re-election in Arizona late Friday, with Masto’s victory giving Democrats 50 key Senate seats and Republicans 49. Georgia’s race is set to go to the December runoff, but even if Republicans win there, a 50-50 split means the Senate will effectively be controlled by Democrats as the tie vote falls to Vice President Kamala Harris body.
For the Republicans, it was another blow after they fell badly in many races. The party has touted hopes that a “red wave” could sweep the United States and put the upper house of Congress into their hands. Instead — with a few exceptions like Florida — the wave is more of a trickle.
A Democratic victory in the Senate could spark further accusations in Republican circles about who is to blame for poor performance. So far, a lot of attention has been on Trump, as he has supported right-wing or celebrity candidates in several key races and lost, like Dr. Mehmet Oz of Pennsylvania.
The victory was also another boost for President Joe Biden as his party ignored immediate fears that his low approval ratings and voters hit by high inflation would translate into polling punishment. Democrats are also ignoring historical precedent, as the party holding the White House routinely loses in midterm elections.
The election performance could quell speculation that Biden could drop out of the 2024 presidential race and leave office after one term. Now, he can point to solid domestic legislation in his first few years as president, as well as a strong midterm performance, to bolster support within the party.
Biden said he was very pleased with the turnout in the U.S. election and said the GOP now needs to decide “who they are.” Biden told reporters in Cambodia ahead of the East Asia Summit that his focus was on the Georgia Senate race.
A loss in the Senate will focus attention on Trump’s continued dominance of the Republican Party. The rift has opened, with some prominent Republican figures publicly calling on Trump not to announce his 2024 campaign, as he is widely expected to announce next week.
Trump himself has lashed out at popular Republican figures who could run against him, such as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a rare Republican success in the midterm elections because of his ease Won re-election and toppled several once-powerful Democratic districts, especially in Miami.