2022 Senate Midterms: Democrats Retain Majority

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) gestures as he leaves the Senate chamber celebrating the passage of the Inflation Relief Act at the U.S. Capitol on Sunday, August 7, 2022 in Washington, DC. T

Kent Nishimura | Los Angeles Times | Getty Images

Democrats will retain their slim majority in the U.S. Senate, according to NBC News projections, preventing a full-scale Republican effort to take advantage of economic instability and public discontent to control the upper chamber of Congress.

The party will hold at least 50 Senate seats in the next Congress after incumbents held on in key races and Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman flipped the GOP-held Pennsylvania seat. An undisclosed race, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia is defending his seat against Republican Herschel Walker, will be decided in a Dec. 6 runoff. Democrats currently control the Senate 50-50 per party through Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote.

While the GOP held some key advantages over Democrats throughout the cycle, analysts saw the Senate battle as a virtual upset ahead of Election Day. Incumbent Sens. Mark Kelly of Arizona and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada both prevailed in their closely contested races, according to NBC after days of counting in both states, closing the Democratic chamber.

Republicans hoped for, and many openly expected, a “red wave” that would sweep Democrats out of their majorities in both chambers of the legislature. A shakeup in congressional leadership would have threatened President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda and his ability to advance key nominations for his next two years in office.

But that wave never materialized. Democratic candidates up and down the ballot exceeded the expectations of many analysts who predicted that Biden’s unpopularity, combined with historic voting trends and persistently high inflation, could spell disaster for the party in power.

Instead, Senate Democrats will keep their majority — and could even add to it if Warnock defeats Walker. It gives the party another check on the GOP if Republicans wrest control of the House.

NBC News has yet to predict control of the House as states continue to count votes in tight races.

NBC estimates that Republicans could win 219 House seats once all unofficial races are settled — just enough for a majority — while Democrats could win 216. The forecast has a margin of error of plus or minus four seats.

This is breaking news. Check back for updates.

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