Democrats kept control of the Senate on Saturday after Catherine Cortez Masto won re-election in Nevada, repelling Republican efforts to retake the chamber.
The Associated Press called Nevada for Cortez Masto on Saturday, projecting that Republican opponent Adam Laxalt—backed by former president Donald Trump—could not make enough gains to win in one of the most competitive races of the midterm elections.
Masto’s victory allows Democrats to retain control of the Senate with at least 50 seats because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote, making it harder for Republicans to thwart President Joe Biden’s agenda even if Republicans gain control of the House. The fate of the lower chamber was still uncertain on Sunday as the GOP struggled to pull together a slim majority.
The Democrats have defied historic odds in this year’s midterm elections, faring far better than predicted after an expected “red wave” failed to materialize. All in, the the results were the best midterm performance by a sitting party in 24 years.
And if Democrats do manage to pull off a win in the House, it would mean full control of Congress—although the party still lacks the 60 Senate votes needed to move many kinds of major legislative changes.
“The American people rejected the anti-democratic, authoritarian, nasty, and divisive direction the MAGA Republicans wanted to take our country,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Saturday night.
“I look forward to continuing to work to deliver meaningful results for the American people.”
Biden said he was “incredibly pleased” and “looking forward to the next couple of years.”
“Congratulations to Senator Schumer. He’s got a majority again,” he told reporters in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he is attending the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Biden said Democrats are now focusing on winning a 51st seat in Georgia, which would allow them to boost their standing on Senate committees. “It’s just simply better,” Biden said. “The bigger the number, the better.”
Georgia is the only state where both parties are still competing for a Senate seat, with Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock set to face Republican Herschel Walker in a December 6 runoff.
Biden also said he was hopeful that Democrats could manage to hold the House.
“It’s a stretch. Everything has to fall our way,” he acknowledged. “We can win it. Whether we’re going to win it remains to be seen.”
Cortez Masto’s victory came after Democrat Mark Kelly won re-election in Arizona on Friday, fending off Blake Masters.
Demonstrators gathered outside the elections office in Maricopa—Arizona’s most populous county—on Saturday to protest the state’s voting tabulation process as they awaited results in the state’s uncalled races.
It came after Republicans alleged, without evidence, that GOP voters were unable to cast ballots due to malfunctioning equipment.
State lawmaker Wendy Rogers called for patriots to “rise up to rally” and “pray for the Light to shine in the darkness and for His truth to be revealed.”
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone criticized Rogers at a news conference on Saturday.
“If you are an elected official and you are doing things to provoke a crowd to come out front here that can lead to the point there are acts of violence or crimes, not only should we put you at the top of a criminal report and charge you or request charges against you I feel like we should send you the bill,” Penzone said, according to ABC15.
After the protest had already started, Rogers sent another tweet, urging people to stay away from the Maricopa County offices so they could finish counting the votes. “The last thing anyone wants is a reason to stop the counting,” she wrote.