Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto won her re-election bid late Saturday night, a victory which ensured that Democrats will retain control over the U.S. Senate in the session of Congress that will convene next year.
Cortez Masto’s defeat of Republican opponent Adam Laxalt was one of several crucial wins for Democrats that signified that American voters were not interested in turning toward the GOP, even as the country has struggled with high inflation and gas prices. Which party will control the U.S. House still remains in doubt, but Democrats are just as likely as Republicans to win the lower chamber. The “red wave” election that Republican politicians and operatives predicted of scores of Democratic losses simply did not happen.
With 97 percent of ballots counted, Cortez Masto had received 48.7 percent of the votes, compared to 48.2 percent for Laxalt.
“The Senate will be a critical firewall against what may be a small Republican House majority with an agenda controlled by the far right,” Jeff Weaver, the Democratic strategist who ran Bernie Sanders’s 2016 presidential campaign, told TYT.
With their victory in Nevada in hand, Democrats will look to increase their chamber majority to 51-49 next month in Georgia, where incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock faces a runoff election with Republican Herschel Walker, a former football player who is one of several weak candidates foisted upon the party by disgraced ex-president Donald Trump.
The GOP’s failure to retake the Senate is a stern rebuke to Sen. Rick Scott, the Floridian who was put in charge of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) last year.
Scott’s management of the NRSC was questioned repeatedly by fellow Republicans who faulted him for not rejecting extremist candidates like Blake Masters in Arizona who have embraced Trump’s lies about losing the 2020 presidential election, openly racist rhetoric, and far-right policies like near-total bans on abortions. Masters was defeated by incumbent Sen. Mark Kelly in a race that was called earlier on Saturday.
“The American people rejected, soundly rejected, the anti-democratic, authoritarian, nasty and divisive direction the MAGA Republicans wanted to take our country in,” Sen. Maj. Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement after multiple news organizations projected that Cortez Masto would prevail.
In a video released to donors shortly after he was appointed, Scott dismissed concerns that Republicans would find it challenging to retake the upper chamber.
“I don’t lose elections,” Scott said in the Jan. 2021 clip. “Some pundits are already saying ‘Oh, it’s a difficult map, it’s going to be hard to retake the Senate.’ That’s a bunch of nonsense.”
Cortez Masto made history when she was first elected in 2016 as the first Hispanic woman chosen by voters to serve as a senator. She is also the first woman elected as a senator from Nevada.
Democrats' success at retaining the Senate will mean that President Joe Biden will be able to continue appointing judges to the federal bench. Thus far in his term, the Senate has confirmed 84 Biden-nominated judges, including Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court, a quicker pace than that obtained by Trump during his former administration.
TYT National Correspondent Matthew Sheffield reports about politics, media, and technology. Follow him on Twitter: @mattsheffield.