The Democratic Party retained control of the U.S. Senate on Saturday night with the re-election of Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto in Nevada, giving Democrats 50 seats to Republicans’ 49 so far.
Cortez Masto defeated Republican challenger Adam Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general, to win.
“I’m not surprised at the turnout. I’m incredibly pleased with the turnout,” said President Joe Biden, a Democrat.
He made the comments in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he is meeting with leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
“I think it’s a reflection of the quality of our candidates. … I look forward to the next two years,” he said.
With the victories of Cortez Masto, whom The Associated Press reported on Saturday night, and Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s victory in Arizona on Friday night, Democrats now control 50 Senate seats.
One last seat remains to be filled, that of Georgia. That race will be decided in a runoff election on December 6 between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and his Republican opponent, former soccer player Herschel Walker.
Even if Walker wins, also giving Republicans 50 of 100 Senate seats, Democrats will control the body because Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, could cast deciding votes.
“It’s always better with 51, because we’re in a situation where you don’t need to have equal committee membership,” Biden said.
“The bigger the numbers, the better,” he added.
Oversight of the House of Representatives is still being decided as the final vote tally has yet to be released in many districts, mostly in western states. “We can win it,” Biden said. “Whether we are going to win remains to be seen.”
Ballots mailed in on Election Day can be counted in Nevada if received by Saturday. Officials in that state have a deadline Thursday to complete the counting of all ballots.
Nevada and Arizona were struggling to count large numbers of mail-in ballots, which takes longer to count because election officials have to match signatures on mail-in ballots to registration lists voters.
Arizona election workers are also still counting ballots to determine the outcome of the gubernatorial race as well as three competitive House seats.
Kari Lake, the Republican candidate for state governor, accused election officials in Arizona’s most populous Maricopa County of deliberately delaying the vote count to make it look like Democrats are doing better than they actually are.
Republican County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates denied the charge, saying staff work 14-18 hour days and will continue to do so through the weekend.
“That’s how things work in Arizona and have for decades,” he said, adding, “We do what we can and always maintain accuracy.”
In the race for control of the House of Representatives, Republicans have moved closer to control but have yet to achieve a majority of seats.
Before Sunday, Republicans appeared to have won 211 House contests in their quest to achieve a 218-vote majority in the 435-member chamber. Democrats won 204 seats, leaving 20 races undecided, according to the Associated Press, as the vote count continues.
In California, results in more than a dozen competitive House districts have yet to be announced.
Republicans say they are confident they will win a House majority even as they express dismay that the size of their political edge over Democrats is likely to be far below pre-election predictions that predict a ‘red wave’ of Republican winners filling the House chamber in January, when the new Congress is sworn in.
If Republicans took control of the House, it would give them veto power over President Joe Biden’s agenda and the ability to launch investigations into his administration.
Biden on Wednesday called his Democratic party a better-than-expected party against Republicans and said he would invite leaders of both parties to the White House after returning from G-20 meetings in Indonesia to discuss how to work together on economic and national security. priorities.
Regardless of the end result, Biden said the election, conducted with only minor disputes across the country, was a good day for America.
“Our democracy has been tested in recent years, but with their votes the American people have spoken and proven once again that democracy is who we are,” he said.
Some information in this report comes from The Associated Press and Reuters.