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That Democratic Senate majority is looking better by the minute

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Sometime after midnight last night, Cook Political Report analyst Dave Wasserman – famous for saying “I’ve seen enough” when accurately calling races before most major news outlets do – declared that Democratic Senator Mark Kelly has won reelection in Arizona. This means the Democrats now have 49 seats and counting in the upcoming Senate term, with two seats still undecided: Nevada and Georgia.

Coming into Thursday, Republican candidate Adam Laxalt still had about a 16,000 vote “lead” in the Nevada Senate race. But the first day’s worth of mail-in votes alone cut that in half, and now Laxalt’s “lead” is only about 9,000 votes. I’m putting the word “lead” in quotation marks because this is really just a function of Republican-heavy same-day voting having been counted in its entirety before Democratic-heavy mail-in vote counting even began, meaning Laxalt’s “lead” is really just sleight of hand. If the mail-in votes were being counted concurrently with the same-day votes, it’s likely that Democratic Senator Catherine Cortez Masto would have had the “lead” throughout the entire vote counting process. My point: while it could take several more days for the rest of the mail-in votes to be counted and announced, I suspect Cortez Masto has perhaps a 60% chance of winning.

If the Democrats do win Nevada, that will assure them of 50 Senate seats and a continued de facto majority right then and there. Of course we’re all sick and tired of rogue Democratic Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema making it difficult to pass bold legislation. But keep in mind that as troublesome as they’ve been in the legislation department, Manchin and Sinema have reliably voted with the Democrats to confirm a ton of federal judges and fill a Supreme Court vacancy. Even with just 50 Senate seats, the Democrats could continue to fill federal judge vacancies, and – crucially – fill any Supreme Court vacancy that arrises over the next two years.



But winning the Nevada seat is far from a sure thing. If we do lose Nevada, we’ll have to win the Senate runoff in Georgia just to get to 50 seats. And even if we do win Nevada, why stop there? Georgia could give us 51 seats, allowing Chuck Schumer to more easily pit Manchin and Sinema against each other when it comes to passing legislation, because we’d only need one of their votes each time around. For that matter, 51 seats would give us an insurance policy in the unlikely event that Sinema descends into complete lunacy and officially becomes a Republican or something. Breathing room is a good thing.


In any case, while still not a sure thing, a Democratic Senate majority is now probable, and is looking better by the minute. Oh and by the way, while the path to a Democratic House majority remains a narrow one, that path is still open after the Democrats clinched four more tight House races last night. Good thing we ignored all that “red wave” hype and continued to put in the work on the most competitive midterm races. We’re on the verge of clinching a Senate majority, and who knows what else, because of it. In the meantime, as we head into the runoff race, go donate to Raphael Warnock’s campaign.

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