Policy

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada gave the Democrats the 50 seats needed to hold the Senate.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., Speaks during the election campaign on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, in Las Vegas. (Photo AP / John Locher) Press association

WASHINGTON (AP) – Democrats held control of the Senate on Saturday, rejecting Republican efforts to reclaim the House and making it difficult for them to frustrate President Joe Biden’s agenda. The fate of the House of Representatives was still uncertain as the GOP fought to gather a small majority there.

Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada gave the Democrats the 50 seats needed to hold the Senate. Her victory reflects the surprising strength of the Democrats in the United States 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 considered the most vulnerable member of the Senate, adding to the frustration of Republicans who were confident she could be defeated.

“We have done a lot and we will do much more for the Americans,” Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer of DNY said Saturday night. “The American people rejected the – strongly rejected – anti-democratic, authoritarian, obnoxious and divisive direction that the MAGA Republicans wanted to take in our country.”

Following the results in Nevada, Georgia is the only state in which both parties are still competing for a seat in the Senate. Incoming Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock will face GOP challenger Herschel Walker in a runoff runoff. The Alaska Senate has advanced to ranked voting, though the seat will remain in the hands of the Republicans.

Democratic control over the Senate ensures a smoother appointment process in Biden’s cabinet and judicial elections, including for potential recruitment in the Supreme Court. The party will also retain control of the committees and will have the power to investigate or oversee the Biden administration and will be able to reject a bill sent by the House if the GOP wins this house.

In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, at the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Biden said of the election results: “I’m fine. I look forward to the next few years. “

Winning the 51st seat in Georgia’s second round of the election, he said, would be important and would allow the Democrats to strengthen their position on the Senate committees.

“It’s just better,” Biden said. “The greater the number, the better.”

If the Democrats manage to win in the House, it would mean full control of the Democratic Congress – and another chance to meet Biden’s priorities, which he said include codifying the right to ab*rtion. The party still lacks the 60 Senate votes needed to implement many kinds of major legislative change.

Biden, who called to congratulate Cortez Masto, said he still hoped the Democrats could hold onto the House.

“It’s a spoof,” he admitted. “Everything must go our way.”

The fight in the Senate was based on several highly contested seats. Both parties spent tens of millions of dollars in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada, and Georgia, major battlefields where Democrats hoped the Republican decision to nominate untested candidates – many endorsed by former President Donald Trump – would help them counter national adversity.

The Democrats took a great victory in Pennsylvania, where Governor John Fetterman defeated renowned heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, who was backed by Trump, and has taken the place currently held by the Republican. Arizona Senator Mark Kelly won re-election by about 5 percentage points.

A tightly divided swing state, Nevada is one of the most racially diverse in the country, a working-class state whose inhabitants have been particularly hard hit by inflation and other economic turmoil. About three-quarters of Nevada voters say the country is headed in the wrong direction, and about half call the economy the top issue facing the country, according to an AP VoteCast survey of 2,100 state voters.

Moving towards the mid-term elections, Republicans have ruthlessly focused on the economy, a major concern for many voters in the face of persistent inflation and high gas and food prices. The GOP also hit Democrats with crime, which at times exaggerated the threat, but nevertheless caused anxiety, especially among suburban voters who turned their backs on the party in 2018 and 2020. And they emphasized illegal border crossing, accusing Biden and other Democrats of not protecting the country.

But Democrats were backed by voters angered by the June Supreme Court decision overturning the constitutional right to ab*rtion. They also portrayed Republicans as being too extreme and democracy-threatening, following the Capitol uprising on January 6, 2021 and Trump’s false claims – repeated by many GOP candidates – that the 2020 elections had been stolen from him.

Schumer said the promises of Democratic candidates to defend ab*rtion rights met with voters. He said the election results made him feel comfortable with the country and its commitment to democracy.

“We knew negativity, malice, tolerating Donald Trump’s big lie – and saying the election was rigged when there was no evidence of it – would hurt the Republicans, not help them,” said Schumer. “But too many of them and their candidates have fallen into these pitfalls.”

Referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, Schumer said voters rejected “the extremist MAGA Republican.”

Nationally, VoteCast found that 7 out of 10 voters said the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade was an important factor in their mid-term decisions. He also showed that the reversal was generally unpopular. And roughly 6 out of 10 said they support a law that guarantees access to legal ab*rtion nationwide.

Half of the voters said their vote was significantly influenced by inflation, while 44% said the future of democracy was their main goal.

Outside of Congress, Democrats have won key governor races in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – the battlefields key to Biden’s victory over Trump in 2020. The Republicans, however, held governor residences in Florida, Texas, and Georgia – another battle state that Biden barely won two years ago.

Though the semesters have failed to produce Republican, Trump remains a major factor in the national party and plans to announce his third presidential run on Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida – setting up a potential rematch for the Biden White House.

“I think the Republican Party will have to … decide who they are,” said Biden.

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