Who controls the US Senate? Democrats and Republican results from midterms explained

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The fate of the House of Representatives was still uncertain

The Democrats have kept control of the US Senate for two more years, dashing Republican hopes of a wave sweeping them into majority.

The fate of the House of Representatives was still uncertain as the GOP struggled to pull together a slim majority there. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s victory in Nevada gave Democrats the 50 seats they needed to keep the Senate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Her win reflects the surprising strength of Democrats across the US this election year. Seeking re-election 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.

The mamoth count in Nevada came to an end on Saturday. State rules meant that votes post marked the election date (8 November) could be counted up to four days after the polls closed.

But the results in Nevada have now been declared. See how it impacts the US senate:

Who has control of the Senate?

Prior to the mid-term elections on Tuesday, many had predicted a so-called red wave which could give Republicans control of the Senate and the House. However that result has failed to materialised.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Democratic senator Cortez Masto was re-elected in Nevada on Saturday (12 November). The result meant that the Democrats will retain a majority in the Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed victory on Saturday night, tweeting: “Your Senate Democratic Majority!” With the results in Nevada now decided, Georgia is the only state where both parties are still competing for a Senate seat.

Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock faces GOP challenger Herschel Walker in a 6 December runoff. Alaska’s Senate race has advanced to ranked choice voting, though the seat will stay in Republican hands.

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 10: Ballots are processed by bipartisan election workers at the Clark County Election Department during the ongoing election process on November 10, 2022 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Two days after midterm elections Nevada election officials continue counting votes in state races. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 10: Ballots are processed by bipartisan election workers at the Clark County Election Department during the ongoing election process on November 10, 2022 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Two days after midterm elections Nevada election officials continue counting votes in state races. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
NORTH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - NOVEMBER 10: Ballots are processed by bipartisan election workers at the Clark County Election Department during the ongoing election process on November 10, 2022 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Two days after midterm elections Nevada election officials continue counting votes in state races. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images) | Getty Images

What does the results mean for President Biden?

Democratic control of the Senate ensures a smoother process for President Joe Biden’s Cabinet appointments and judicial picks, including those for potential Supreme Court openings.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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. 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 Mr Biden’s 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. 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 Governor John Fetterman defeated celebrity heart surgeon Dr Mehmet Oz, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, to pick up a seat currently held by a Republican. Arizona Senator Mark Kelly won re-election by about five percentage points.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

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

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

Related topics:

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.