Democrats have an 'excellent chance' of keeping Senate majority ahead of Georgia runoff: expert
One of the nation’s top elections analysts is predicting Democrats have an “excellent chance” of getting a Senate majority with 50 seats, and that’s before the Georgia runoff. For Democrats, that may be critical.
Dave Wasserman, of the highly-respected nonpartisan Cook Political Report, Thursday morning tweeted, “After last night’s [Nevada] mail ballot trend, excellent chance now that Dems will have 50 Senate seats/control in hand heading into the [Georgia] runoff.”
Some political experts believe Georgia GOP voters may be less likely to come out to vote for Republican Herschel Walker over U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, if control of the Senate has already been determined.
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But if that Georgia seat determines control of the Senate, popular thought goes, Georgia Republicans will more likely come out to hand the GOP control by voting for Walker.
At this moment, after Tuesday’s election, Democrats have 48 Senate seats next year, and Republicans 49, according to The New York Times‘ count, leaving three seats undetermined.
Of those three seats, two have not been called yet as vote counting continues: Nevada and Arizona. The winner of the remaining, last seat, which is Georgia, will be determined after the December 6 runoff, after neither candidate got 50% of the vote on Tuesday.
(Important to note that Alaska has not been called either, but both candidates are Republicans, and are headed into a ranked-choice runoff.)
It appears that Democratic incumbent U.S. Senator Mark Kelly of Arizona, has s a good chance to retain his seat. Last night he strengthen his lead to 51.4% with 70% of the vote reported, according to The Times. His Republican opponent, Blake Masters, has 46.4%.
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That leaves Nevada, which Wasserman says there is an “excellent chance” of Democrats holding. The Democratic incumbent, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto, is currently losing to her Republican challenger, Adam Laxalt. With 83% of the votes reported, Sen. Cortez Masto has 47.6% of the vote, according to The Times, and Laxalt has 49.4%.
The Washington Post‘s Thursday morning updated report echoes Wasserman’s predictions.
“Renowned Nevada political analyst Jon Ralston now estimates that Cortez Mastro has a good shot, as long as she keeps racking up something close to the 65 percent of late-counted mail ballots that she has been. She currently trails by nearly 16,000 votes with a reported 100,000-plus ballots left to count,” The Post’s Aaron Blake’s analysis states.
“If Democrats can win both, Georgia would be immaterial to the Senate majority,” he continues. “But if the races are split — say, if Kelly and Laxalt hold onto their leads — the Georgia runoff would again determine which party controls the Senate, just as a pair of Georgia runoffs did in 2020.”
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Blake says, “Democrats probably feel reasonably good about that.”
But he also offers Democrats a contrarian reason to feel good about it.
In 2020, he notes, “Georgians would’ve been well aware that casting ballots for Democrats could give the party full control of Washington, and they voted blue anyway,” electing Warnock and Senator Jon Ossoff.
“We’ll see if they confront a similar choice in 2022. For now, all eyes are on Arizona and Nevada, with the next shoe most likely to drop in Arizona.”
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