November 12, 2022
A little before 9:30 p.m. Eastern time, NBC called Nevada’s tight Senate race for the incumbent: Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto. Cortez Masto defeated Adam Laxalt, a former attorney general for the state, whom former president Trump had endorsed.
This means that the Democrats keep control of the Senate.
Democrats will have 50 votes in the new Congress just as they did in the current one, enabling Vice President Kamala Harris to break ties in their favor.
Harris may not need to break ties, though, if the last Senate seat goes to the Democrats. That last seat is the one outstanding seat from Georgia. In the election there, Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock garnered about 35,000 more votes than Trump-endorsed Republican Herschel Walker, but neither man won 50% of the vote. Under Georgia law, this forces a runoff, which will be held on December 6. Walker is a deeply flawed candidate, and now that his election cannot give the Republicans control of the Senate, it is not clear that voters will turn out for him.
As of late October, NPR reported that outside groups had spent almost a billion dollars on the campaigns of Republican Senate candidates, hoping to take control of that body. Key to that desire for control was control of the judiciary, where the right wing has entrenched itself as it has become increasingly extreme and unpopular. Even without control of the House—which is still unclear as election officials continue to count votes—Democratic control of the Senate means that President Joe Biden will be able to continue confirming judges.
After the Nevada race was called, Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) told reporters that the victory was “a vindication for Democrats, our agenda, and…for the American people.” He explained: “The American people rejected the antidemocratic extremist MAGA Republicans.”