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Catherine Cortez Masto's Win in Nevada Means Democrats Will Hold the Senate

Dems are free from the pressure of having to defeat Herschel Walker in the Georgia run-off to maintain Senate control.

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Democrats have officially retained control of the Senate, even before the December 6 Georgia runoff election between Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) and Republican nominee Herschel Walker. In two critical races, Sen. Mark Kelly defeated GOP challenger Blake Masters in Arizona, and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D) knocked off Republican Adam Laxalt in Nevada, giving Democrats 50 seats along with Vice President Kamala Harris’ 51st tie-breaking vote.

The Nevada race was the last Senate race to be called on Saturday, not counting the Georgia runoff. The toss-up race was neck-and-neck til the end, with Cortez Masto trailing Laxalt for days as ballots continued to be counted. Laxalt, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, had called Roe v. Wade a “a joke” and said it was “sad” the state still had pro-choice laws. Hilariously, 14 members of his own family endorsed Cortez Masto over him.

“We believe that Catherine possesses a set of qualities that clearly speak of what we like to call ‘Nevada grit,’” they wrote in an open letter, adding, “Catherine has consistently demonstrated a fierce loyalty to her home state of Nevada. She has always put Nevada first—even when it meant working against her own party’s policies.”

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Laxalt lost to Cortez Masto by about 6,000 votes.

It certainly lowers the stakes of the Georgia runoff to know the Democrats will hold the Senate either way—but it would nevertheless be very helpful for the party to have 51 Senators rather versus the current 50, wherein conservative Democrats Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) wield way too much power.

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We still don’t know who will control the House, but the fact that it wasn’t called on election night was itself a surprising result. If Republicans flip that chamber, we can say goodbye to hopes of codifying Roe v. Wade next year. Perhaps Democrats should try again in the “lame duck” period before the new Congress is seated.