Democrats clinch control of U.S. Senate with win in Nevada

Democrats will retain control of the U.S. Senate next year after Democratic U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto wins re-election in Nevada, Edison Research projected on Saturday, handing U.S. President Joe Biden a major victory.

Still, Republicans remained on course to take control of the US House of Representatives as officials continued to count the ballots in Tuesday’s US midterm elections.

Cortez Masto narrowly defeated Republican challenger Adam Laxalt, a former state attorney general who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.

With Masto’s victory on the heels of Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s re-election in Arizona on Friday night, Democrats will control at least 50 Senate seats, with Vice President Kamala Harris potentially severing ties in the 100-member chamber.

The Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans. The newly elected Senate will be sworn in on January 3.

If Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock wins the Dec. 6 runoff election in Georgia against Republican challenger Herschel Walker, that would bring the Democrats’ majority to 51-49. That, in turn, would give Democrats an added advantage by passing a limited number of controversial bills that are allowed to advance with a simple majority of votes, instead of the 60 needed for most laws.

Democratic Senators Joe Manchin in West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema in Arizona are “reversed” votes that blocked or delayed some of Biden’s major initiatives, including the expansion of some social programs.

But with 51 Democratic seats in the next Congress, the influence of Manchin and Sinema would be slightly diluted.

It was still unclear which party would hold the majority in the US House of Representatives for the next two years. Republicans continued to hold an advantage, but returns were still pouring in for several races, including many in liberal-leaning California.

Democrats scored a significant upset on Saturday with a projected victory in Washington’s 3rd congressional district, where Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez defeated Trump-endorsed Joe Kent.

It could take several days or more before the results of enough House races are known to determine party control of the 435-seat chamber.

Democrats received a major boost Friday night when Kelly, the Democratic senator from Arizona, was expected to retain his seat, beating Republican Blake Masters, who, like Laxalt, was endorsed by Trump. Masters did not concede the run.

Kelly, a former Navy fighter pilot and astronaut, delivered a brief victory speech to supporters in Phoenix on Saturday with his wife, former Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords, at his side. His remarks focused on working in Congress in a bipartisan manner.

Kelly did not mention Masters, but said: ‘We have seen the consequences that arise when leaders refuse to accept the truth and focus more on the conspiracies of the past than on solving the challenges we face today’ today.”

The midterm elections saw many Republican candidates, including Masters, echo former President Trump’s false claim that he lost the 2020 election to Biden due to massive voter fraud. .

In Nevada, where Clark County officials were processing ballots arriving by mail and through drop boxes, County Registrar Joe Gloria said no candidate made allegations of fraud at his office.

“We haven’t heard of any campaign related to cheating or questioning” the process or the results, he told a news conference.

No winner was yet projected in the gubernatorial race in Arizona, where Democrat Katie Hobbs holds a narrow lead over Republican Kari Lake. In the race for Nevada secretary of state, Democrat Cisco Aguilar defeated Republican Jim Marchant, a notorious supporter of Trump’s bogus 2020 voter fraud claim.

JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS IN PLAY

A Democratic-controlled Senate will provide Biden with assurances that his nominees to serve on dozens of federal judgeships will be confirmed under Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

That would be especially crucial for Democrats if a U.S. Supreme Court seat, which now has a 6-3 conservative majority, were to open up in the final two years of Biden’s term.

When the outgoing Senate returns Monday for a post-election work session that could end in late December, Schumer aims to immediately confirm two more federal judges awaiting final votes.

Trump has been hovering over the 2022 midterm elections all year, which has used his continued popularity among far-right conservatives to sway the candidates the Republican Party has nominated for the congressional races, running for office. of governor and local.

With Republicans performing poorly on Tuesday — even as they secure narrow majority control of the House — Trump was blamed for nurturing candidates who couldn’t appeal to a large enough electorate.

Both Laxalt and Georgia’s Walker have won Trump’s support. Republican losses in either of those two races could further hurt Trump’s popularity as advisers say he plans to announce a third presidential race in 2024. House Republicans, if they win a victory, have pledged to try to roll back Biden’s victories on climate change and want to lock in a set of expiring 2017 tax cuts. They also planned investigations into the activities of the Biden administration and investigations into the president’s son, who had business dealings with Ukraine and China.

(Reporting by Tim Reid in Phoenix; Additional reporting and writing by Richard Cowan in Washington; Editing by Daniel Wallis and William Mallard)

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