Call it an election of jump balls, hanging in the balance or any other metaphor suggesting it’s too close to call and you have the outcome of Tuesday night key midterm races, none more consequential than control of the Senate.
It was a 50-50 split before the election and as we go to press it stands at 48 to 48, thus with four races still waiting to be decided, including the showdown between incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia. And with neither candidate acquiring the 50% needed to be declared a winner, a run-off, as it was in 2020 will be slated.
On Wednesday morning, the tally was a dead heat, to cite another metaphor, between Warnock (48.5%) and Walker (49.5%) and Libertarian candidate Chase Oliver with (2.1%) of the overall count. A runoff may be set for Dec. 6 after the results are certified.
“Whether it’s later tonight, or tomorrow, or four weeks from now, we will hear from the people of Georgia, the people who have given me this great honor of representing you in the Senate, and we will move forward,” Warnock told a throng of supporters Tuesday night. Walker said that “The fight for Georgia’s Senate seat is going into overtime,” a term fitting for his acclaim on the gridiron. “It’s going to be all hands on deck for the next four weeks, so I need your help once again.”
Meanwhile, one of the other critical Senate races in Pennsylvania has Democrat John Fetterman defeating television doctor Republican Mehmet Oz by a vote of 50.4% to 47.2%. Since the campaigning began it was projected to be a tight contest with Fetterman, the state’s lieutenant governor, taking on the Trump-backed celebrity.
Still outstanding in the race to control the Senate are the contests in Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada. The race between the conservative incumbent Ron Johnson and rising star Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, an African American, remains too close to call with Johnson getting 50.5% of the vote and Barnes at 49.5%. In Arizona, incumbent Democrat Mark Kelly holds a narrow lead of 51.4% over his Republican challenger Blake Masters at 46.4%. A large portion of the vote has yet to be counted.
Going into the midterm elections Nevada was deemed the most vulnerable for the Democrats where Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina senator in the nation trails Republican Adam Laxalt, 47.2% to 49.9%, but the race continues to be a toss-up.
In the end, the Senate could still be evenly divided, thereby placing the deciding vote once more in the hands of Vice President Kamala Harris, but that finality is quite a bit down the road, considering the runoff in Georgia.
Things are less in command for the Democrats in the House of Representatives where Republicans hold 212 seats and need six more to gain the majority. Democrats have 220 seats, and there are three vacancies—one officeholder died and two others resigned.
Ordinarily, the party in power loses seats during the midterm but the results thus far have not been as disastrous as predicted, despite the setbacks encountered with gerrymandering. One disturbing setback for the Democrats occurred with the defeat of Sean Maloney, the chair of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. He conceded to challenger Mike Lawler. It has been more than 40 years since a campaign committee chair lost a race.