The outcome of the Nevada race secured Democrats 50 seats in the Senate, while Republicans have won 49. Still to be determined is the fate of the Georgia seat, which will go to a runoff election next month after neither Democratic incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock nor Republican candidate Herschel Walker won more than 50% of the vote.
But even if they win in Georgia, Republicans can no longer outnumber Democrats in the Senate; if each party has 50 seats, a tie vote is broken by the president of the Senate, according to the Constitution. That role is filled by Vice President Kamala Harris, who has already regularly helped Democrats move forward their agenda by casting a tiebreaking vote in the first two years of the Biden administration.
Now all eyes are turning to the remaining uncalled races in the House, where 218 seats are necessary to secure a majority. Before the election, Republicans had been favored to win there — it’s typical in a midterm for the party that doesn’t control the White House to do well. As of Sunday morning, the GOP had won 211 seats, including seven that had previously been held by Democrats.
But 24 races haven’t yet received a call, a decision that the Associated Press explained it makes when there’s no way for the candidate who is behind to catch up based on outstanding votes. As things stand now, Republicans look likely to keep their lead in enough places to take control of the House, but no one will know for sure until more votes are counted.
And counting simply takes a long time, particularly in states like California and Arizona. California accepts mail-in ballots for a week, as long as they’re postmarked by Election Day. Arizonans also vote by mail in large numbers, and increasingly this year, they waited until Election Day to drop off those early ballots, which further slowed the counting process.
That’s inspired conspiracy theories from former president Donald Trump and far-right candidates, prompting even fellow Republican officials to plead publicly for patience.