Dems retain Senate majority as GOP push falters in NV

(AP) – Democrats maintained control of the Senate on Saturday, fending off 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 muster a slim majority there.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada gave Democrats the 50 seats they needed to retain the Senate. Her victory reflects the surprising strength of the US Democrats this election year. Seeking re-election in an economically troubled state that has some of the highest gas prices in the country, Cortez Masto was seen as the most vulnerable member of the Senate, adding to the frustration of Republicans confident she could be defeated.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed victory Saturday night, tweeting, “Your Democratic Senate Majority!”

With the results now decided in Nevada, Georgia is the only state where both parties are still fighting for a Senate seat. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock will face GOP challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff vote Dec. 6. Alaska’s Senate nomination has advanced to the nominated list, though the seat will remain in Republican hands.

Democratic control of the Senate ensures a smoother process for Biden’s cabinet appointments and judge selections, including those for potential Supreme Court openings. The party will also retain control of committees and have the power to investigate or oversee the Biden administration, and will be able to reject legislation passed by the House of Representatives if the GOP wins that chamber.

If Democrats manage to secure a victory in the House of Representatives, it would mean full control of Congress for Democrats — and another chance to advance Biden’s priorities, which he has said about codifying abortion rights. The party still lacks the 60 votes in the Senate needed to push many important legislative changes forward.

The fight in the Senate had started from a handful of hard-fought seats. Both parties spent tens of millions of dollars in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, key battlegrounds where Democrats had hoped Republicans’ decision to nominate untested candidates — many backed by former President Donald Trump — would help them to defy national headwinds.

The Democrats scored a major victory in Pennsylvania, where Lt. gov. John Fetterman the famous heart surgeon Dr. Defeated Mehmet Oz, who was backed by Trump, to take a seat currently held by a Republican. Arizona Senator Mark Kelly won re-election by about 5 percentage points.

Nevada, a tightly divided swing state, is one of the most racially diverse in the nation, a working-class state whose residents have been particularly hard hit by inflation and other economic turmoil. According to AP VoteCast, a poll of 2,100 state voters, about three-quarters of Nevada voters said the country was going in the wrong direction, and about half named the economy the country’s top concern.

Heading into the midterms, Republicans have remained relentlessly focused on the economy, a top concern for many voters amid persistent inflation and high gas and food prices. The GOP also hit Democrats over crime, a message that sometimes exaggerated the threat but still inspired fear, particularly among suburban voters who turned away from the party in 2018 and 2020. And they highlighted illegal border crossings and accused Biden and other Democrats of failing to protect the country.

But Democrats were buoyed by voters furious over the Supreme Court’s June decision that overturned the constitutional right to abortion. They also portrayed Republicans as too extreme and a threat to democracy after the January 6, 2021 riot in the US Capitol and Trump’s false claims – repeated by many GOP candidates – that the 2020 election had been stolen from him .

Nationally, VoteCast showed that 7 out of 10 voters said the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade was a major factor in their halftime decisions. It also showed that the reversal was largely unpopular. And about 6 in 10 say they support legislation that would guarantee access to legal abortion nationwide.

Half of voters said inflation had a significant impact on their vote, while 44% said the future of democracy was their most important consideration.

Away from Congress, Democrats won key gubernatorial races in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — battlegrounds vital to Biden’s 2020 victory over Trump. Republicans, however, held gubernatorial mansions in Florida, Texas and Georgia — another battleground state Biden narrowly won two years ago.

Though the midterm elections didn’t deliver a Republican romp, Trump remains a major factor in the national party and plans to announce his third run for the presidency on Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago, Fla., estate — in preparation for a possible rematch for the White House with Biden. Dems retain Senate majority as GOP push falters in NV

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