Donald Trump’s coattails were strong enough to keep Congress in Republican hands. While not all the Senate races have been called, the likely makeup of the Senate will be 52 Republicans to 48 Democrats. The New York Times puts the odds of Republican controlling the Senate at 95%.
Democrats hold Nevada
Democrats managed to hold the seat of retiring Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid as Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto beat Republican Joe Heck in Nevada, but that was about the only good news of the evening for Democrats.
The surprise victory by Sen. Ron Johnson in Wisconsin set the tone for the night early on. Johnson had run behind Democrat Russ Feingold for most of the campaign, and his win was one of the first signs that the polls missed the boat in 2016.
New Hampshire race tight
The Democrats would have to win the two undecided races in New Hampshire and Missouri to achieve a 50-50 tie, but the Democrat candidates were trailing in both states. In Missouri, Republican Roy Blunt was leading by 6 points. In New Hampshire, the Republican candidate Kelly Ayotte was locked in a tight race with Democrat Maggie Hassan. With 83% of the vote counted Ayotte was leading by about 2,000 votes.
Supreme Court vacancy
The importance of the GOP holding control of Senate cannot be overstated. Starting with the vacant seat on the Supreme Court, control of the Senate will enable Trump to make an immediate and far-reaching impact on the country. Trump will have a clear mandate from the voters to make dramatic changes in how the country works, and with the GOP controlling both Houses of Congress, many of his programs will quickly be enacted into law.
Many Congressional Republicans have been critical of Trump during the campaign, but they are now in his debt. Without Trump’s coattails, the GOP looked on track to lose the Senate and Trump deserves much of the credit for holding the Republican majority.