(Headline USA) Democrats kept control of the Senate on Saturday, repelling Republican efforts to retake the chamber and making it harder for them to thwart President Joe Biden’s agenda. The fate of the House was still uncertain as the GOP struggled to pull together a slim majority there.
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada gave Democrats the 50 seats they needed to keep the Senate. Her win reflects the surprising strength of Democrats across the U.S. in the 2022 election. Seeking reelection in an economically challenged state that has some of the highest gas prices in the nation, Cortez Masto was considered the Senate’s most vulnerable member, adding to the frustration of Republicans who were confident she could be defeated.
With the results in Nevada now decided, Georgia is the only state where both parties are still competing for a Senate seat. Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock faces GOP challenger Herschel Walker in a Dec. 6 runoff. Alaska‘s Senate race has advanced to ranked choice voting, though the seat will stay in Republican hands.
Democratic control of the Senate ensures a smoother process for Biden’s Cabinet appointments and judicial picks, including those for potential Supreme Court openings. The party will also keep control over committees and have the power to conduct investigations or oversight of the Biden administration, and will be able to reject legislation sent over by the House if the GOP wins that chamber.
Biden said of the election results: “I feel good. I’m looking forward to the next couple of years.”
He said winning a 51st seat from the Georgia runoff would be important and allow Democrats to boost their standing on Senate committees.
“It’s just simply better,” Biden said. “The bigger the number, the better.”
If Democrats manage to pull off a win in the House, it would mean full control of Congress for Democrats — and another chance to advance Biden priorities, which he has said include codifying abortion rights. The party still lacks the 60 votes in the Senate needed to move many kinds of major legislative changes.
Biden, who called to congratulate Cortez Masto, said he was still hopeful that Democrats could hold the House.
“It’s a stretch,” he acknowledged. “Everything has to fall our way.”
Beyond Congress, Democrats won key governors’ races in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — battlegrounds critical to Biden’s 2020 win over Trump. Republicans, though, held governors’ mansions in Florida, Texas and Georgia — another battleground state Biden narrowly won two years ago.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press