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Democrats maintain Senate control after victories in Nevada, Arizona

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White marble exterior of the United States Capitol, often called the Capitol Building, is the home of the United States Congress and the seat of the legislative branch of the U.S. federal government. It is located on Capitol Hill at the eastern end of the National Mall in Washington, D.C. View of the east facade |

Democrats will maintain control of the U.S. Senate in 118th Congress as Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto is projected to defeat her Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt, in a tightly contested midterm race in The Silver State. 

With 98% of the precincts reporting in Nevada, Cortez Masto has secured about 48.8% of the vote to Laxalt’s 48.1%.

With the victory, Democrats are guaranteed to win 50 seats in the upper chamber. With Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris being the tiebreaking vote, Democrats will again have a narrow majority in the Senate for the second half of President Joe Biden’s first term in office. 

Another close race projected this weekend to be a victory for Democrats is the Arizona Senate race. With 88% of the precincts reporting, Sen. Mark Kelley has secured 51.8% of the vote, while Republican challenger Blake Masters has earned 46.1% of the vote. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted Saturday night that the "election is a victory and vindication for Democrats, our agenda and our accomplishments, and for America and the American people."

"The American people rejected the anti-democratic, authoritarian, nasty, and divisive direction the MAGA Republicans wanted to take our country," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer tweeted Saturday night. 

Democrats have an opportunity to build on their narrow control of the Senate as the tightly contested Georgia Senate race between Rev. Ralphael Warnock and former football star Herschel Walker will advance to a runoff election as neither candidate was able to secure more than 50% of the vote in The Peach State as required by state law. The runoff election will be Dec. 6.  

“I feel good and I’m looking forward to the next couple years,” Biden told reporters during his trip to Cambodia of Democrats maintaining Senate control.

In their bid to retake control of the Senate in what many thought could be a “red wave” in the 2022 midterms, Republicans hoped to maintain control of Pennsylvania’s Senate seat held by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. However, Democrats flipped that seat with Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeating Donald Trump-backed television personality Mehmet Oz.

Schumer sees Democrat's ability to maintain control of the Senate as being a "firewall against the threat by MAGA Republicans of a nationwide abortion ban," likely a reference to a 15-week abortion ban bill introduced by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., earlier this year. 

Control of the House of Representatives is yet to be decided. As either party needs to win 218 seats to take control of the lower chamber, control of the House could take weeks to determine and hinge on races in states with a large percentage of mail-in ballots. 

So far, the GOP is projected to win at least 211 states, while Democrats are projected to win at least 203. Democrats so far have lost seven seats, while Republicans have gained six. 

According to Politico, 21 congressional races still have yet to be resolved as of Saturday night, with 10 races “truly undecided” and Democrats narrowing the gap in many of those races. 

On Friday, The Associated Press called seven congressional races in favor of Democrats and three more on Saturday, including a seat in southwest Washington that had previously been deemed by Politico to “lean Republican.” That seat is held by Republican Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler, who lost a primary race to a Trump-backed challenger after she voted to impeach the former president. 

Republicans held optimism heading into last Tuesday’s elections that they will take control of the House and potentially the Senate. As neither has happened as yet, some conservative members of Congress have voiced their frustrations with the outcomes so far. 

“The old party is dead. Time to bury it. Build something new,” Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., tweeted

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith, or Facebook: SamuelSmithCP.

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