In a huge victory for President Joe Biden, Democrats managed to retain majority in the US Senate on Saturday, defying predictions that Republicans would ride a “red wave” to victory in both houses of Congress.
But the wave did not live up its expectations as incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto won the election in Nevada, Edison Research projected on Saturday, giving the party the 50 seats it needs for an effective majority.
The win clinches Democratic control in the Senate as Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote if the upper chamber is evenly split 50-50. The majority will give Democrats the power to confirm Biden’s judicial nominees and they can set their own agenda in the remaining two years of Biden’s term. He could have otherwise been reduced to a lame duck President.
The Republicans have 49 seats in the Senate while the fate of the Georgia seat will be decided in a runoff scheduled for December.
However, Republicans appear to have an edge in the voting for the House of Representatives which is also hanging in the balance, contrary to expectations that the red wave would take them to a large majority.
In Arizona, winning candidate Kelly called for unity in a victory speech on Saturday. The former Navy combat pilot and astronaut beat challenger Blake Masters, who has not yet conceded defeat and was backed by Donald Trump.
The former president had spearheaded the campaign trail for his party and the Republicans’ poor national performance has come as a huge political blow to him.
Trump’s response to the Arizona result was to double down on unfounded claims of ballot rigging, posting on his Truth Social platform that the Democrat’s victory was a “scam” and the result of “voter fraud,” according to an AFP report.
Trump is set to declare his 2024 White House bid on Tuesday which he thought would be done in the wake of a major victory in the polls but that has not materialised. As a result, Trump is facing criticism from within the party and there are other potential Republican candidates who would like to run for the next Presidential elections.
According to US media reports, a letter circulated by three Republican senators calls for the postponement of party leadership elections currently scheduled for the middle of next week.
“We are all disappointed that a Red Wave failed to materialize, and there are multiple reasons it did not,” the letter said.
“We need to have serious discussions within our conference as to why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024,” it added.
Some suggest Trump’s early entry into the presidential race is designed to fend off possible criminal charges arising from multiple investigations into the final weeks of his presidency as well as his business affairs.