Senator Catherine Cortez Masto has defeated Republican Adam Laxalt in Nevada to give Democrats at least 50 Senate seats in the next Congress and continued control of the upper chamber. A sizable batch of mail-in ballots from the Democratic stronghold of Clark County (Las Vegas) ultimately erased the lead Laxalt built on Election Day, following a tense, bitter contest in the closely divided state.
Republicans flipped the Nevada governorship this week when Joe Lombardo defeated Democratic incumbent Steve Sisolak, but the big national midterms prize was won, appropriately, by Cortez Masto, protégé of the late Harry Reid and beneficiary of his political machine.
The victory in Nevada, combined with Mark Kelly’s projected win over Blake Masters in Arizona (called Friday), means that the December 6 runoff in Georgia between Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker will not affect control of the Senate — though a Warnock win would buy some spare time for Vice-President Kamala Harris by relieving her of the duty of breaking ties.
Cortez Masto’s victory also marks an uncommon political feat: 2022 is now only the sixth midterm election since the New Deal where the president’s party gained seats in the U.S. Senate. It’s far less likely that Democrats will beat the higher odds against gains in the House — but the count goes on.