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'A victory and a vindication for Democrats,' party hangs onto Senate despite inflation anxiety

Election 2022 Nevada Senate
Posted at 9:32 PM, Nov 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-12 23:06:35-05

Democrats will remain in the majority in the U.S. Senate following last Tuesday's election.

Nevada Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto defeated Republican Adam Laxalt, tipping the balance of power of the Senate back to the Democrats and clinching the party the 50th seat in 2023 and 2024. The win likely means Sen. Chuck Schumer will remain the Majority Leader.

Vice President Karmala Harris can act as a tiebreaker if Democrats fail to win next month's U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia.

“This election was a victory. A victory and a vindication for Democrats, our agenda and America, and the American people,” Schumer said. “There are three things that help the Senate secure the majority. One, our terrific candidates. Two, our agenda and our accomplishments. And three, the American people rejected the anti-Democratic extremist Maga Republicans."

The win is an important one for President Joe Biden as Democrats can help ensure he can appoint judicial and administration nominees. In the final two years of President Barack Obama's presidency, Republicans in the Senate majority held up numerous judicial appointments, most notably a spot on the Supreme Court that was left vacant for nearly a year following the death of Antonin Scalia.

Cortez Masto took a modest lead Saturday after trailing Laxalt since election night. She made up ground as officials in Clark County announced a major tranche of mail-in and early votes late Saturday. The tranche of votes netted her about 6,000 votes, giving her a 5,000-vote lead over Laxalt after trailing by nearly 1,000.

Democrats clinched their 49th Senate seat on Friday when incumbent Sen. Mark Kelley defended his seat in a tight election in Arizona.

The likelihood of Democrats retaining the Senate seem to diminish in the final weeks before the election as polling indicated inflation was weighing heavily on voters. Also, history has proven that midterm elections are generally not friendly to the party that holds the White House.

Outside of Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania featured tight Senate races. Of these six seats, four were held by Democrats. While Republicans were able to hang onto Wisconsin, Democrat John Fetterman defeated Republican Mehmet Oz, giving the party the ability to lose a seat currently held by a Democrat and still retain the majority.

The balance of the U.S. House remains in the balance. Republicans have clinched 211 seats, while Democrats will have at least 203. Democrats lead 12 of the remaining 21 uncalled seats. Republicans, who lead in nine uncalled districts, need just seven to clinch the majority.