Democrats keep Senate majority as GOP push falters in Nevada

Nov 12, 2022, 4:45 AM | Updated: Nov 14, 2022, 7:18 am
U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., speaks during a campaign stop at the Nevada State AFL-CIO...

U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., speaks during a campaign stop at the Nevada State AFL-CIO offices in Henderson, Nev., Sunday, Nov. 6, 2022. Masto is running against Republican candidate Adam Laxalt. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

(Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats kept control of the Senate on Saturday, repelling Republican efforts to retake the chamber and making it harder for them to thwart President Joe Biden’s agenda. The fate of the House was still uncertain as the GOP struggled to pull together a slim majority there.

Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada gave Democrats the 50 seats they needed to keep the Senate. Her win reflects the surprising strength of Democrats across the U.S. this election year. Seeking reelection in an economically challenged state that has some of the highest gas prices in the nation, Cortez Masto was considered the Senate’s most vulnerable member, adding to the frustration of Republicans who were confident she could be defeated.

“We got a lot done and we’ll do a lot more for the American people,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Saturday night. “The American people rejected — soundly rejected — the anti-democratic, authoritarian, nasty and divisive direction the MAGA Republicans wanted to take our country.”

With the results in Nevada now decided, Georgia is the only state where both parties are still competing for a Senate seat. Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock faces GOP challenger Herschel Walker in a Dec. 6 runoff. Alaska’s Senate race has advanced to ranked choice voting, though the seat will stay in Republican hands.

Democratic control of the Senate ensures a smoother process for Biden’s Cabinet appointments and judicial picks, including those for potential Supreme Court openings. The party will also keep control over committees and have the power to conduct investigations or oversight of the Biden administration, and will be able to reject legislation sent over by the House if the GOP wins that chamber.

In Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Biden said of the election results: “I feel good. I’m looking forward to the next couple of years.”

He said winning a 51st seat from the Georgia runoff would be important and allow Democrats to boost their standing on Senate committees.

“It’s just simply better,” Biden said. “The bigger the number, the better.”

If Democrats manage to pull off a win in the House, it would mean full control of Congress for Democrats — and another chance to advance Biden priorities, which he has said include codifying abortion rights. The party still lacks the 60 votes in the Senate needed to move many kinds of major legislative changes.

Biden, who called to congratulate Cortez Masto, said he was still hopeful that Democrats could hold the House.

“It’s a stretch,” he acknowledged. “Everything has to fall our way.”

The Senate fight had hinged on a handful of deeply contested seats. Both parties spent tens of millions of dollars in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, the top battlegrounds where Democrats had hoped that Republicans’ decision to nominate untested candidates — many backed by former President Donald Trump — would help them defy national headwinds.

Democrats scored a big win in Pennsylvania, where Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defeated celebrity heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz, who was endorsed by Trump, to pick up a seat currently held by a Republican. Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly won reelection by about 5 percentage points.

A closely divided swing state, Nevada is one of the most racially diverse in the nation, a working-class state whose residents have been especially hard-hit by inflation and other economic turmoil. Roughly three-fourths of Nevada voters said the country is headed in the wrong direction, and about half called the economy the most important issue facing the country, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of 2,100 of the state’s voters.

Heading into the midterm election, Republicans focused relentlessly on the economy, a top concern for many voters amid stubborn inflation and high gas and food prices. The GOP also hit Democrats on crime, a message that sometimes overstated the threat but nonetheless tapped into anxiety, particularly among the suburban voters who turned away from the party in 2018 and 2020. And they highlighted illegal border crossings, accusing Biden and other Democrats of failing to protect the country.

But Democrats were buoyed by voters angry about the Supreme Court’s June decision overturning the constitutional right to an abortion. They also portrayed Republicans as too extreme and a threat to democracy, following the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and Trump’s false claims — repeated by many GOP candidates — that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

Schumer said Democratic candidates’ promises to defend abortion rights resonated with voters. He said the election results made him feel good about the country and its commitment to democracy.

“We knew that the negativity, the nastiness, the condoning of Donald Trump’s big lie — and saying that the elections were rigged when there’s no proof of that at all — would hurt Republicans, not help them,” Schumer said. “But too many of them, and their candidates, fell into those traps.”

Referring to Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, Schumer said voters had rejected “extremist MAGA Republicans.”

Nationally, VoteCast showed that 7 in 10 voters said the Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade was an important factor in their midterm decisions. It also showed the reversal was broadly unpopular. And roughly 6 in 10 said they favor a law guaranteeing access to legal abortion nationwide.

Half of voters said inflation factored significantly in their vote, while 44% said the future of democracy was their primary consideration.

Beyond Congress, Democrats won key governors’ races in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania — battlegrounds critical to Biden’s 2020 win over Trump. Republicans, though, held governors’ mansions in Florida, Texas and Georgia — another battleground state Biden narrowly won two years ago.

Though the midterms failed to deliver Republican romps, Trump remains a major factor in the national party and plans to announce his a third run for the presidency Tuesday at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida — setting up a potential rematch for the White House with Biden.

“I think the Republican Party is going to have to … decide who they are,” Biden said.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - Senior Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif poses for photograph prior to recoding an episode ...
Associated Press

Report: Killing of Pakistani journalist in Kenya ‘planned’

ISLAMABAD (AP) — The killing in Kenya of an outspoken Pakistani journalist was a “planned assassination,” a team of Pakistani investigators said in a report released Wednesday, weeks after the mysterious slaying triggered condemnations and calls for an independent probe. Meanwhile, Islamabad police charged two Pakistani businessmen living in Kenya who had hosted Arshad Sharif […]
1 day ago
FILE - Juul products are displayed at a smoke shop in New York, on Dec. 20, 2018. Embattled vaping ...
Associated Press

Juul reaches settlements covering more than 5,000 cases

Juul Labs has reached settlements covering more than 5,000 cases brought by about 10,000 plaintiffs related to its vaping products. Financial terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Juul said that it has secured an equity investment to fund it. Buffeted by lawsuits, Juul announced hundreds of layoffs last month and bankruptcy appeared increasingly […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Editorial Roundup: United States

Excerpts from recent editorials in the United States and abroad: Dec. 5 The Washington Post on microchips, the U.S. and the future When President Biden visits a microchip factory under construction in Arizona, it might look like a political victory lap: The factory will bring $12 billion and thousands of jobs to an important swing […]
1 day ago
FILE - Local residents gather near a generator to charge their mobile devices in an area controlled...
Associated Press

Donors race to get generators, other aid to hard-hit Ukraine

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — When Russian forces launched a military campaign against infrastructure in Ukraine nearly two months ago, they opened a front that carried the war along power lines, water mains and heating systems to homes, schools, offices and churches. The government in Kyiv and the Western countries that have backed it with billions […]
1 day ago
FILE - A Boeing 747-8, Boeing's new passenger plane, takes its first flight, Sunday, March 20, 2011...
Associated Press

Boeing’s last 747 to roll out of Washington state factory

After more than half a century, Boeing is set to roll its last 747 out of a Washington state factory on Tuesday.
1 day ago
Associated Press

Co-buying a house: How platonic partners make it work

Seven years ago, Phil Levin and his girlfriend, Kristen Berman, pondered a common question: Should we move in together? Levin assumed they’d take a predictable path and find a more affordable apartment outside of pricey San Francisco. But Berman, a behavioral scientist, shared her reservations about leaving their friend network – and some facts to […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Democrats keep Senate majority as GOP push falters in Nevada