Democrats hold on to Senate majority, while House still hangs in the balance

Democrats will retain control of the U.S. Senate after Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto won her race against Republican Adam Laxalt in Nevada on Saturday. In the House, Democrats still have a slim path to the majority, although ballot counting trends currently favor the GOP. Lisa Desjardins joins Geoff Bennett to discuss what this all means.

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  • Geoff Bennett:

    Good evening. It's good to be with you. And we start tonight with news that Democrats will keep their majority in the U.S. Senate. Last night in Nevada, incumbent Senator Catherine Cortez Masto was declared the winner in her race against Republican Adam Laxalt. And with 50 seats secured in the Senate now, Democrats still have a chance to add to their majority in Georgia's runoff election next month.

    For more on what this will mean for Congress and the Biden agenda, we turn to our Lisa Desjardins, it's great to have you here. So Lisa, we heard from President Biden and the Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, what does retaining Senate control mean for the Democratic Party and for their agenda?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    Practically it means the next few months of lame duck will be a lot easier probably for everyone. Democrats feel they do not have to rush through the rest of their agenda before a possible change of power, because they'll stay in power.

    Now, in addition, they believe that this helps them in Georgia. Let's look at where that race stands right now. You can see the difference. Raphael, Warnock winning by about 35,000 votes right now, but everyone knows it's going to a runoff job. And Democrats think not only does this help them with momentum in Georgia for that runoff in December, but it takes away the motivation for Republicans.

    No longer can Mitch McConnell and Republicans say to voters in Georgia, you've got to get our guy in there because that will change the Senate. It won't. So Democrats also now feel even better about the race in Georgia.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    And speaking of the Senate GOP, we know that leaders are pushing forward with plans to hold leadership elections this coming week, even as a number of Republicans are calling for a delay given their underwhelming performance in the midterms. What's the latest there?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    We will watch this, Geoff, but right now those Republican leadership elections are still scheduled for Wednesday. There is no so far viable alternative to Mitch McConnell. As I say, well keep watching this, but I just think this is classic finger pointing. There will be a robust family discussion I hear but I don't see a threat to Mitch McConnell right now.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Family discussion is a good way to put it. So what's the latest, Lisa, with the House count? Democrats as I understand it still have a slim path to the majority, even though the ballot counting trends favor the Republican Party?

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    That's right. It's a slim path. Let's look at where we are right now. These are races called by the Associated Press. Democrats have 204 seats. Republicans have 211. Now Geoff, I have 20 seats remaining. That's the basic math there. They are split right now and who is winning them. If it all goes as it stands right now, Republicans would get about 221 seats but you know, these races are now it mostly California races very slow. and it has a lot of implications because right now it's not clear, Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House right now, has the votes to be Speaker.

    So it's close. We're still waiting for to see exactly who will lead. Republicans continue to have kind of the lead in that idea.

  • Geoff Bennett:

    Lisa Desjardins, thanks as always great to see you.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    You're welcome.

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