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

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Democrats were projected to retain control of the Senate on Saturday, clinching a narrow majority as they showed strength in battleground races in a daunting midterm year that handed President Joe Biden a major victory as he embarks on his next two years in office.

The final blow to Republican hopes of retaking the chamber came in Nevada, where Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) was projected to win reelection, edging past Adam Laxalt (R), a former state attorney general. Cortez Masto’s projected win ensures Democrats a 50th seat, with a runoff election still to come in Georgia on Dec. 6. Vice President Kamala Harris is empowered to cast tiebreaking votes in the Senate.

Control of the House was still up in the air on Sunday, as vote counting continued days after an election in which Democrats overperformed expectations in many contested areas across the country. Democratic control of the Senate dashes GOP hopes of a full takeover on Capitol Hill.

That’s welcome news for Biden, who was staring down the possibility of humbling defeats as the election neared. Now, the Senate,. which oversees the confirmation of executive branch personnel and federal judges, will stay in his party’s corner. The president and his party will also have more say than they would have had in the minority when it comes to major legislative debates over domestic and foreign policy spending and other big issues.

Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), the chair of the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, said in a statement the victories represented a “resounding endorsement of Democrats’ Senate majority” and “a rejection of the extremism espoused by the GOP.” Cortez Masto announced she would deliver a victory speech on Sunday.

In Nevada, Cortez Masto’s win was part of a perfect record so far by incumbent senators seeking reelection in the midterms, as voters tilted strongly against upending the established order in the chamber. It was part of a strong showing by Democrats in battleground areas where Republicans fell short after emphasizing rising prices and concerns about crime during an era of one-party control in Washington.

Republicans started the election needing to gain one seat to seize control of the Senate. Democrats flipped a seat in Pennsylvania and held on in several other states seen as vulnerable, running heavily as protectors of abortion rights after the end of Roe v. Wade and casting GOP rivals as extremists. One such state was Arizona, where Sen. Mark Kelly (D) was projected to win Friday night over Republican challenger Blake Masters.

In Nevada, Laxalt sought to tie Cortez Masto to Biden while blaming inflation and crime on Democratic policies, pointing to a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill Cortez Masto helped pass during the height of the pandemic.

Republicans predicted their economic message would be especially resonant in a working-class state with some of the highest inflation in the country. But both parties always expected the race to be decided by razor-thin margins, and Cortez Masto claimed a second term in a state the GOP long considered a top pickup opportunity.

Cortez Masto, who is the first Latina elected to the Senate, made abortion access central to her campaign, warning that her opponent could help pass a federal abortion ban even as Nevada had guaranteed access to the procedure by popular vote. She also touted Democrats’ efforts to bring down costs, including the price of prescription drugs.

Laxalt has said he would not support a national abortion ban, though he supports a referendum in the state to ban abortion after 13 weeks. During the general election, he spoke little about his role in fanning former president Donald Trump’s false claims of election fraud, as Democrats attacked him on the issue.

The fight for the Senate was a focal point of the midterm campaign, with huge sums of cash flooding into key states. Inexperienced candidates elevated by Trump eased Democrats’ path in some important races, at times stumbling and giving Democrats more room to go on the attack.

In Pennsylvania, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D) defeated celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz, a first-time Republican candidate boosted by the former president. Oz faced scrutiny over his popular TV show, which promoted questionable products; his longtime New Jersey residency; and instances Democrats used to paint him as an out-of-touch candidate, including his reference to raw vegetables as “crudite.”

The Arizona race also featured a Trump-backed newcomer in Masters, who Democrats branded as an extremist. They seized on comments he made about privatizing Social Security and his support for abortion restrictions, including a national 15-week ban.

Democrats held off other challenges, stymieing Republican attempts to advance into Colorado, Washington state and New Hampshire. Republicans nominated more moderate candidates in the first two states but in New Hampshire, the GOP nominee was Don Bolduc, a far-right contender who embraced much of Trump’s platform and had claimed falsely that Trump won the 2020 election.

Republicans kept control of open seats in North Carolina and Ohio and will be sending two new senators to the upper chamber from those states: Rep. Ted Budd and author J.D. Vance, respectively. In Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson (R) narrowly won reelection in a competitive contest.

In Georgia, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) ran just slightly ahead of Republican nominee Herschel Walker, a former football player. But neither candidate met the 50 percent threshold required to avert a runoff. So the two will face off again in a runoff next month Both sides have been gearing up in the purple state.

In Alaska, vote tallying continues under a new ranked-choice system. Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a target of Trump, and Kelly Tshibaka, a challenger backed by the former president, were in competition in that race.

In total, Democrats were playing defense in the Senate in 14 states this midterm year—all of which were won by Biden in 2020. Republicans were playing defense in 21 states, including two where Biden won. One was Pennsylvania, so far the only flipped seat.

The losses have stirred discontent among Republicans in the Senate, and at least six of them have pushed for next week’s leadership elections to be delayed in a challenge to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s leadership.

The Senate Leadership Fund, an outside group closely associated with McConnell (R-Ky.), spent more than $230 million this cycle backing Republicans in races across the country. Without directly criticizing Trump, McConnell lamented before the election that “candidate quality” issues made it harder for Republicans to flip the Senate than the House.

Since several Trump-backed Senate candidates have lost, Trump and his allies have attempted to turn the blame around on McConnell, criticizing him for not spending more in Arizona to back Masters and other decisions.

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7 thoughts on “Democrats keep control of U.S. Senate with win in Nevada

  1. Republicans should have just ripped the bandaid off in February 2021, convicted Trump and barred him from holding office again, and moved on. They’d likely have won both houses without Trump’s meddling and his low quality candidates… and they could be taken seriously when it comes to their oath to defend the Constitution and the rule of law.

    1. “Low quality candidates” as defined by Turtle man. As if Charlie Crist’s existence isn’t evidence enough, we have a uniparty and they are desperate to maintain it using standard leftists tactics–by any means necessary–while ignoring the misery and suffering of an ever growing portion of the population to which they offer flippant responses that would make Marie Antoinette blush.

      What do you expect to happen to these peasants that the neo-cons and neo-libs hate so much? As you continue immiserating them you only make them bigger in number and angrier than ever that, fundamentally, the government refuses to represent them. Similarities between the Dixiecrats and the shoulder-shrugging Republicans of the 1960s just becomes more and more obvious. trump, for all his personal deficits, is one of the few capable of breaking and calling out the uniparty who still has enough money to not get (fully) canceled for daring to do so. The fact that the uniparty fought hard to defeat MAGA after MAGA clobbered neo-cons and neo-libs during the primaries does not mean your modern-day “ni66ers” are going back into the woodwork. The Dems, who love to see themselves as representing a majority, got absolutely clobbered in the popular vote last week. Are they still going to be screeching “one person, one vote” or “abolish the EC” when this happens during minor elections in 2023?

      Imagine taking anyone seriously about “defend the Constitution and the rule of law” after spending 15 minutes in the crime-ridden, junkie-filled heaps of excrement that is the average American big-city center. Or people who claim Hunter Biden’s laptop and his business deals between Ukraine, China, and “the big guy” is no big deal. Printer machines still go brrr-brr-brr, and 95% of toss-up races favor the Dems, every single time. And each time it happens, more people are aware.

      The BlueAnon gaslit quotient are so funny. World War III just keeps seeming tastier by the minute. Putin, please come nuke our nation’s capital yesterday.

    2. Yawn. Four years of not caring about the entanglements of Jared Kushner, an actual member of the White House staff, but you’re going to go on and on about Hunter Biden. At least be consistent if you’re going to blather on about this uniparty nonsense. Let me guess, Kushner is different.

      People are tired of the Trump drama. They’re tired of the clowns and fools willing to debase themselves to kiss the ring to get Trump’s blessing.

      They’re tired of the Lauren Boebert’s of the world, she of the heavily Republican district who looks like she will eke out a win. Traipsing all across America like she’s some kind of visionary instead of campaigning in her district, treating all her constituents like peasants who should be grateful that she graces them with her presence. We shall see if she learns her lesson.

      I get it – you so hate America you’d rather have a dictator in charge. You’d rather live in Orban’s Hungary or Putin’s Russia, because you think that in this new order, you will have a place of privilege. It’s the same uniparty you supposedly so hate with different people in charge of the grift. It’s not eliminating the grift, it’s just thinking that if we blow everything up, I will land in a higher place in this new order and I can get my share of the grift. Like Bitcoin or playing the Powerball, most of the participants just don’t realize they’re getting used and played. Pay attention to the news – it’s amazing how in Putin’s Russia, so many longtime Putin supporters end up just falling out of hotel rooms from 13 stories up. Funny, that.

      Because Donald Trump had four years and he delivered …. Exactly what, for his voters? He didn’t fix their healthcare costs. He didn’t fix their roads. He didn’t bring back their manufacturing jobs. He just hated the same people they did. And, apparently, that’s quite enough for a lot of people.

    3. Joe B-
      It’s not the President’s job to fix people’s problems. People have to fix their own
      That’s the problem, Dem supporters think someone else should always do
      everything for them and solve their problems.

      Trump went off the rails after the 2020 election for sure. But his policies on the
      economy were better than Biden’s.
      The corporate tax cuts were needed to keep the U.S. competitive with the rest of the industrialized world.

      The Abraham Peace Accirds were historic. A huge break through. Something
      that Biden has screwed up and squandered.

      Trump did speak for the working class and was authentic. Something that the
      other chameleons running for office weren’t. Trump was a 90’s Democrat.

      As far prescription drug prices being lowered, pharmaceuticals will cut back
      on their R & D in response to Biden’s distorting the market.
      You just can’t go in like a bull in a China shop and cut profits without
      some sort of backlash.

      Biden, wanting to shut down our fossil fuel industry while begging
      OPEC to increase production and trying to cut deals with dictators.
      Roads being fixed??? Lol…That’s always been an issue . Nothing new there.

    4. Keith, remember the phrase “repeal and replace”? Remember how that fell apart when it became apparent the Republican health care plan they’d had a decade to work on (since Obamacare was the worst thing ever) was … just a return to the status quo, since Obamacare was (largely) a Republican health care plan to begin with?

      Infrastructure? Trump sold himself as a master builder who was going to use his experience to fix America. America only got Infrastructure Week when Joe Biden and the Democrats made it happen.

      Republicans did nothing with their time in office outside of packing the judiciary and a large tax increase that most companies didn’t do anything with save buy their stock back. Explain to me how that is supposed to help the working class. The economy didn’t change one iota from the trajectory it was on the last 4-5 years of Obama.

      And remember, deficits matter deeply to Republicans when there is a Democratic president. When there’s a Republican president and times are good and the chance is there to pay down the deficit? No, that’s the time for another deficit increasing tax cut!

    5. Keith–

      You’re dealing with a generally smart leftist who, like most in his party, has surrendered independent thought to that of a commissar of experts who, like he himself, thinks people are too stupid to know what’s best for themselves. They think this as they elect people who cannot string three coherent sentences together–our senile president and an aphasia afflicted PA senator. And now, because he’s an utter establishment normie, is forced to trotting out statements like “you hate America”, while the party he supports blindly, the party that represents everything being uttered 100s of times each day by a media whose numbers keeping plunging, can’t be seen at rallies without a flag burning, or upside down, if they’re even willing to get together as a group because of COVID fear. (A COVID fear, we all note, went away instantaneously when the left got together to participate in one of their thousands of violent, arson-filled riots.)

      When leftists say “democracy” they mean, the “credibility of leftism”. And yes, it’s under threat by someone who attacked it with the same fervor that basic principles of classical liberalism (which, in 2020 are conservative) are under attack as being “extreme” by the party desperate to push the overton window towards Weimar.

      If trump represented “more of the same”, why go after him so hard? If Lauren Boebert is nothing more than an Onlyfans bimbo, why do they behave like she’s a threat? And if Orban is as bad as the media says he is (while they cover for western dictators like Trudeau and Ardern), then why are the eastern European countries so consistently anti-globalism? Why do Poland and Czechia and Slovakia and Hungary see things in this EU superstate that a sizable minority of the population in western Europe (and Canada and UK and US) cannot?

      Don’t throw them a bone by saying trump “went off the rails”–that only underplays their nightly mayhem and rioting, which, aggregated over a single weekend, makes Jan 6 look like a Renaissance Fair. Or the fact that Biden has all but called his citizens to arms against one another.

      Just be grateful that their cities are collapsing and they’re murdering one another with newfound aplomb. They reveal their dysfunction intrinsic to leftist moral foundations, so we don’t have to. Rightist moral foundations have their dysfunction too, but there are no places where leftism is snuffed out completely the way they’re trying to do this in certain leftist cities–cities with piles of trash, needles, feces, and where sucker-punches and anything short of outright murder go unpunished depending on the race of the offender–an echo of rural Mississippi in 1962, only now it’s NYC and San Fran and Portland 2022.

      No place can flourish under only one set of moral principles. But half the country, the fundies (who are almost completely on the left), think they can. And we’re seeing how that plays out. Let’s hope Indy can stave it off.

    6. Geez Lauren, when you put it like that, there’s little wonder why the Republican Party has been overtaken by folks desperate not to be exposed for the frauds they are, guilty most of projection that the mere existence of “those people” justify their anti-American behavior.

      All elections we don’t win are stolen or fraudulent. What kind of nonsense is that? Here’s a thought – don’t run candidates so awful that they lose to stroke patients, because even a guy who can’t talk is more trustworthy than a TV quack doctor?

      Why do people go so hard after Trump or Boebert? Do you actually pay attention to what they say? I guess some folks just love democracy more than you and don’t feel like living in a faux-mocracy like you dream of. I mean, the borders to Hungary are open. Why not move there? Tucker said it was an awesome place. Why stay here in America if you hate it so?

      It’s honestly no different than how hard you go after folks like me, Republicans aghast at what became of their party. Overtaken by fools and facists. Folks like me who aren’t sufficiently loyal are … inconvenient to have around, reminders of a time in which there was a diversity of thought and blind loyalty to whatever Dear Leader says. Diego Morales and Todd Rokita will lead them.

      By the way, how are the links going to all those reputable news sources? You know, the ones you have that’s the far superior to the “leftist” trash that has warped my “leftist” brain? It’s almost as though you’re embarrassed to share.