Democrats will keep their narrow Senate majority for the next two years, CNN projects, after victories in close contests in Nevada and Arizona. Democrats now have 50 Senate seats to Republicans’ 49 seats.
In Nevada, CNN projects that Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a former prosecutor and state attorney general, will defeat Republican Adam Laxalt, her successor in the attorney general’s office and the son and grandson of former senators.
In Arizona, CNN projects that Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly, a former astronaut and the husband of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will defeat Republican Blake Masters, a venture capitalist who was endorsed by Trump and supported by tech mogul and emerging GOP megadonor Peter Thiel.
Georgia’s race between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker is headed to a December runoff after neither candidate cleared the 50% threshold on Tuesday.
Even if Republicans win the Georgia runoff, though, Vice President Kamala Harris would continue to cast the tie-breaking vote in an evenly divided Senate to guarantee the Democratic majority.
Only one Senate seat has changed hands so far in the 2022 midterm elections: Pennsylvania, where Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who campaigned as he recovered from a May stroke, defeated Republican Mehmet Oz, the celebrity doctor who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump.
Republicans successfully defended seats in hard-fought races in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin, while Democrats retained their seats in competitive contests in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Hampshire.
More on the Democrats’ Senate win: Retaining Senate control is a huge boost to President Biden over the remaining two years of his first term in the White House.
It means Democrats will have the ability to confirm Biden’s judicial nominees — avoiding scenarios such as the one former President Barack Obama faced in 2016, when then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold a vote on his Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. It also means that Senate Democrats can reject bills passed by the House and can set their own agenda.