The Republican Party appears to be able to maintain control of the Senate without allowing the upper house of Congress to come under Democratic control. This became clear on Wednesday after Senator Susan Collins was able to re-run for another term from Maine, and in several other states incumbent Republican senators defeated their Democratic rivals in the elections.
As a result, Democrats, hoping for a majority in the Senate, gained only one additional seat without achieving the desired result, despite the huge funding advantage enjoyed by the Democratic candidates.
Republicans currently control 53 Senate seats, while Democrats have 47 seats, including two independent senators. For the Senate to come under their control, the Democrats need to take away the three seats now held by the Republicans, if Joe Biden wins the election, and Democratic Senator Kamala Harris then leads the upper house as vice president. If Biden loses, Democrats will need four additional mandates.
Of the five Senate elections yet to be announced, incumbent Republicans are leading in Alaska, Georgia and North Carolina. In Michigan, incumbent Democratic Senator Gary Peters leads by a small margin.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who was re-elected for another term on Tuesday, discussed the possibility of retaining his leadership role in the Senate at an event in Kentucky, describing his position as “offensive coordinator.”
“If we win in North Carolina … I’ll still be offensive coordinator,” McConnell said. “I don’t know if I’ll be defense coordinator or offensive coordinator,” he added.
As a result of the election of the senator from Georgia, the winner was not determined. The second round of voting, which will feature GOP Senator Kelly Loeffler and Democrat Raphael Warnock, will take place on January 5. According to McConnell, another election to the Senate from the state of Georgia, during which Republican David Purdue and Democrat John Ossoff will compete for the Senate seat, could also be held in two rounds.
The best news for Republicans came from Maine, where the moderate Republican Susan Collins unexpectedly defeated Democrat Sarah Gideon, Speaker of the State House of Representatives.
Democrats have won against incumbent Republican Senators Martha Maxalli in Arizona and Corey Gardner in Colorado. However, those two victories were overshadowed by the loss of Democratic Senator Doug Jones in Alabama, leaving only one extra seat left for Democrats.
Democrats’ chances of gaining control of both congressional boards were further diminished when it became clear that incumbent Republican Senators Joni Ernst of Iowa, Steve Danes of Montana, John Cornin of Texas, and Lindsay Graham of South Carolina are steadily ahead of rival Democrats.
Republicans also won senatorial elections from Kansas, where Roger Marshall defeated Democrat Barbara Bollier.
If Biden wins, the Republican-controlled Senate will pose a major challenge to the White House, likely blocking much of its legislative agenda, including expanding public access to health care and fighting climate change.