By Gauri Patel
The battle for control of Congress remains up in the air for the House of Representatives as a handful of contests remain uncalled. The fight for House majority appears to be favorable for the Republicans, as the GOP only needs five more seats to overcome the Democrats’ narrow majority, according to CBS News.
It was likely that any majority in the Senate, however, would have been much closer.
“If the election results in anything other than a tie or 51-49 majority for either party,” said Morris Fiorina, a specialist in American politics and elections, in an interview with The Stanford Daily, “it will qualify as a surprise.”
Democrats needed a net gain of only one seat to capture control of the Senate as incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly won the race in the crucial swing state Arizona. As of Nov. 18, Kelly was leading Republican Blake Masters, a venture capitalist backed by former President Donald Trump, by almost five percentage points with 99 percent of the vote in, meaning that Democrats will retain control of the Senate, according to NPR. Kelly, a former NASA astronaut, was elected in 2020 to fill the term of the late GOP Senator John McCain. During this election, he campaigned on a platform of bipartisanship and pitched himself as an independent-minded candidate, according to ABC News.
"Thank you to the people of Arizona for re-electing me to the United States Senate," Kelly said in a written release on Friday. "From day one, this campaign has been about the many Arizonans - Democrats, Independents, and Republicans - who believe in working together to tackle the significant challenges we face. That's exactly what I've done in my first two years in office and what I will continue to do for as long as I'm there."
In Georgia’s case, according to Politico, libertarian candidate Chase Oliver, took 2.1 percent of the vote in the initial round of the election on Nov. 8. This resulted in neither Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock nor his Republican challenger Herschel Walker, a former professional football player, getting more than 50 percent of the vote. With less than 1 percentage point separating Walker and Warnock, they will be the only candidates up for consideration in the runoff election set for Dec. 6.
In the case of Nevada, Democrats have at least 50 seats now that Senator Catherine Cortez Masto won, regardless of the outcome of the Georgia runoff, meaning that they retain control of the Senate. If Republican Adam Laxalt had won, control of the Senate would have been determined by the Georgia runoff. A Republican conference call was hosted by Senator Rick Scott of Florida, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee on Nov. 10 during which Senator Lindsey Graham suggested that fraud would be the cause if Laxalt isn’t declared the winner, according to Politico.
“There is no mathematical way Laxalt loses,” said Graham on the call. “If he does, then it’s a lie.”
The final results of the 2022 midterm elections could have a large impact on President Biden’s current agenda in addition to the 2024 Presidential election. While the House will most likely be controlled by the GOP, control of the Senate is in the hands of the Democrats.
If Republicans have control of either the Senate or the House, they will be able to halt President Biden’s current plans, such as the expansion of abortion rights, the fight against climate change or the push towards stricter gun laws. They could also have more control over investigatory committees, meaning that they could end the inquiry into the 2021 U.S. Capitol riots and instead launch new investigations into issues such as Hunter Biden’s Chinese business dealings or the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan earlier this year, according to the BBC. This could negatively affect Biden’s 2024 campaign, should he follow through on his plans to run for re-election.
According to CNN, if candidates backed by Trump perform poorly in this midterm election, which was the case for his candidates in Pennsylvania and Michigan, the Republican party is less likely to back him for his 2024 campaign.