The Hitchhiker’s Guide To What Tonight’s Win By Cortez Masto Means for the Senate

The win by Sen Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) over GOP challenger Adam Laxalt means Democrats have a 50-50 Senate at minimum, thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Harris.

This is critically important. That’s because Senate Democrats can still confirm President Biden’s nominees – particularly to the federal judiciary

Republicans would have put the kibosh on many nominees.

However, the big one here is the potential for a Democratic Senate to confirm someone to the Supreme Court should there be a vacancy. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) would be under pressure to reprise his decision from 2016 of not holding a hearing for a Biden SCOTUS nominee were he Majority Leader.

DEMOCRATS TO MAINTAIN CONTROL OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE

The win by Sen Catherine Cortez Masto (D-AZ) over GOP challenger Adam Laxalt means Democrats have a 50-50 Senate at minimum, thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Harris.
(Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

The Cortez Masto win slightly diminishes the Senate runoff in Georgia between Sen. Raphael Warnock and GOP challenger Herschel Walker.

However, Democrats would rather have a 51-49 Senate advantage than 50-50.

51 votes means there would be no power-sharing arrangement with Republicans which exists now. Democrats would have ratio advantages on committees. This would diminish the need for “discharge petitions” to dislodge otherwise stuck nominees which are bottles up in committee because of tie votes.

51 votes would also give Democrats a cushion if there are absences, especially due to COVID.

But Democrats are now going to face TREMENDOUS pressure from the left now to eliminate the 60-vote threshold to end a filibuster on legislation. In fact, Democrats may have already picked up at least one vote in favor of that in Sen.-elect John Fetterman (D-PA).

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The Cortez Masto win slightly diminishes the Senate runoff in Georgia between Sen. Raphael Warnock (right) and GOP challenger Herschel Walker (left).
(Getty Images)

Moreover, Republicans will likely intensify their internal sniping after failing to pick up the Senate – despite inflation and President Biden’s rotten poll numbers.

Some Republicans will point fingers at McConnell. McConnell gave himself an out months ago when he began to question the “quality” of Republican candidates this cycle.

But it was Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) who was in charge of Senate GOP re-election efforts, running the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). It wasn’t that long ago that Scott was touting the possibility or 53-54 GOP seats. And McConnell was preparing to try to undercut McConnell as Leader.

In fact, Scott faced criticism earlier this year for his management of the NRSC. There were concerns about how Scott spent NRSC dollars.

Some Republicans will point fingers at McConnell. McConnell gave himself an out months ago when he began to question the “quality” of Republican candidates this cycle.
(Bloomberg)

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Some Republicans may not be pleased with McConnell. But they’re not exactly enamored with Scott after this performance.

Moreover, Congressional Republicans will find themselves having to field questions in the Capitol hallways Wednesday morning about President Trump’s announcement Tuesday night. That exercise is one of the least favorites of Congressional Republicans. Watch Wednesday to see how many stand by the former President – or if others make a clean break and upbraid Mr. Trump for his comments and decision to launch a campaign.