Washington: Defying Republican hopes for a “red wave” in the midterm elections, Democrats took a victory lap on Sunday after maintaining control of the U.S. Senate and turning their attention to Georgia, where a run-off election could strengthen their position in Congress.
Even as Republicans moved closer to taking control of the House of Representatives with a few crucial races still to be called, Democratic leaders portrayed the better-than-expected performance as support for their programme and a rebuttal of electoral scepticism on the right.
Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto defeated Adam Laxalt, a candidate backed by former President Donald Trump, to win control of the Senate late on Saturday. As a result, Democrats now control a 50-50 Senate, thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.
Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock’s victory against Republican candidate Herschel Walker in the Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia would give the party total control, enhancing its influence over committees, legislation, and judicial nominations.
“We’re focusing now on Georgia. We feel good about where we are,” President Joe Biden said on the sidelines of a meeting of Southeast Asian heads of government in Cambodia on Sunday.
Republicans, however, remained close to seizing control of the House as officials continued counting ballots, with returns still flowing in for several races, including many in liberal-leaning California.
As of Sunday, Republicans had won 211 seats and the Democrats 206, with 218 needed for a majority. It could take several days before the outcome of enough House races is known to determine which party will control the 435-seat chamber.
With additional inputs from Reuters.