Democrats keep control of US Senate

President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party has retained control of the United States Senate after winning a closely contested race in the state of Nevada.

The Associated Press news agency declared Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto the winner in the western state late on Saturday.

Her victory over Republican challenger Adam Laxalt – who had been backed by former President Donald Trump – gives the Democrats the 50 seats they need for an effective majority. Vice President Kamala Harris will be able to break any ties in the 100-member chamber.
It was still unclear which party would control the House of Representatives as counting continued in razor-tight races in California and a smattering of other states. It could take several days or more before the outcome of enough House races is known to determine party control of that 435-seat chamber.

Democratic control of the Senate ensures a smoother process for Biden’s cabinet appointments and judicial picks, including those for potential Supreme Court openings.

The party will also keep control over committees and have the power to conduct investigations or oversight of the Biden administration, and will be able to reject legislation sent over by the House if the Republicans win that chamber.

Biden, who was in Cambodia to attend a summit of Southeast Asian leaders, said he was feeling “good about where we are”.

“Again, I’m not surprised by the turnout. I’m incredibly pleased,” he told reporters. “And I think it’s a reflection of the quality of our candidates.

“We feel good about where we are. And I know I’m a cockeyed optimist.”

The Senate fight had hinged on a handful of deeply contested seats. Both parties spent tens of millions of dollars in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Nevada and Georgia, the top battlegrounds where Democrats had hoped that Republicans’ decision to nominate untested candidates — many backed by Trump — would help them defy national headwinds.

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