After Democratic US Senator Catherine Cortez Masto won re-election in Nevada, Edison Research predicted on Saturday (US time) that the Democrats will retain control of the US Senate the next year, handing President Joe Biden a big triumph.
As officials finished counting votes cast in Tuesday's midterm elections in the United States, the Republicans were near to gaining control of the House of Representatives.
Cortez Masto narrowly defeated former state attorney general Adam Laxalt, a Republican opponent backed by former president Donald Trump.
With Masto's victory and Democratic Senator Mark Kelly's re-election victory in Arizona on Friday night, Democrats will control at least 50 of the 100 Senate seats, with Vice President Kamala Harris empowered to break ties.
Demographically, the Senate is evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans. On January 3, the newly elected Senate will be sworn in.
If Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock were to defeat Republican candidate Herschel Walker in the Georgia runoff election on December 6, the Democrats' advantage would increase to 51-49. In turn, this would offer Democrats an additional advantage in passing a limited number of contentious items that are permitted to progress with a simple majority of votes, as opposed to the 60 votes required for most legislation.
Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona are "swing" voters who have rejected or delayed some of Biden's biggest plans, such as the extension of some social programs.
However, with 51 Democratic seats in the forthcoming Congress, the impact of Manchin and Sinema would be somewhat diminished.
Who will hold the majority in the US House of Representatives for the next two years is still unknown. Republicans maintained their advantage, although returns were still being tallied for several seats, including those in California, a state with a liberal bent.
In Washington's 3rd congressional district, where Democrat Marie Glusenkamp Perez defeated Trump supporter Joe Kent, the Democrats achieved a big upset on Saturday.
It could take several days or more to decide which party would control the 435-seat House of Representatives once enough results have been tallied.
Kelly, the Democratic senator for Arizona, was anticipated to retain his seat on Friday night, defeating Republican Blake Masters, who, like Laxalt, was backed by Trump. This was a significant boost for the Democrats. Masters has not admitted defeat.
Saturday in Phoenix, Kelly, a former Navy combat pilot and astronaut, delivered a brief victory address with his wife, former Democratic Representative Gabby Giffords, by his side. His speech centered on bipartisan cooperation in Congress.
Kelly did not mention Masters, but he did say, "We've seen what happens when leaders refuse to accept the truth and focus more on conspiracies from the past than on fixing the current difficulties we confront."
Many Republican candidates, including Masters, echoed Trump's bogus claim that he lost the 2020 election to Biden due to significant voter fraud during the midterm elections.
In Nevada, where Clark County officials were reviewing ballots that arrived via mail and drop boxes, county registrar Joe Gloria stated that no candidates had brought claims of fraud to his office.
At a news conference, he stated, "We have heard nothing from any campaign regarding fraud or questions about the process or results."
In the contest for governor of Arizona, where Democrat Katie Hobbs holds a tiny lead against Republican Kari Lake, no winner has been predicted as of yet. Democrat Cisco Aguilar defeated Republican Jim Marchant, a prominent supporter of Trump's phony accusation of voter fraud in 2020, in the race for Nevada secretary of state.
Judicial nominations at stake
Biden will be assured that his nominations for dozens of federal judgeships will be confirmed under the leadership of Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer if the Senate is controlled by the Democrats.
If a seat on the US Supreme Court, which currently has a conservative majority of 6-3, were to open up during the final two years of Biden's term, it would be very significant for Democrats.
Schumer intends to confirm two other federal judges awaiting final votes as soon as the outgoing Senate returns on Monday for a post-election work session that might go until late December.
Trump has spent the entire year preceding the midterm elections of 2022, using his sustained popularity among far-right conservatives to influence the candidates selected by the Republican Party for congressional, gubernatorial, and local races.
In light of the Republicans' lackluster showing on Tuesday - even if they do gain a slim majority in the House - Trump has been criticized for supporting candidates who were unable to appeal to a sufficiently large portion of the population.
Both Laxalt and Georgia's Walker were endorsed by Trump. According to Trump's aides, he is considering making a third candidacy for the presidency in 2024 if the Republicans lose either of these two elections.
If they are victorious, House Republicans have pledged to reverse Biden's climate change accomplishments and make permanent a series of 2017 tax cuts that are set to expire. In addition, they intend to investigate the Biden administration and the president's son, who has conducted business with Ukraine and China.
Commenting on the outcome of the Senate election, Schumer said, "I feel happy for the country because so many people, including myself, were concerned about this democracy. With all the negativity and threats, America demonstrated that we believe in our democracy, that its roots are deep, and that it will win as long as we continue to fight for it.
In response to the divisive atmosphere that pervaded several electoral contests this year, he urged Republicans to join an initiative to help mend rifts.
"The American people are dissatisfied with the leaders that condoned and promoted this vile and poisonous rhetoric. And I'm appealing to my Republican colleagues, it's okay that we disagree on so many subjects.
"However, let's avoid this type of divisive negativity. Let us finally attempt to get together."