VOTE 20

Democrats Keep House Majority—Can They Still Flip The Senate?

As of Thursday afternoon, Democrats are projected to keep majority control of the House, while tied in a dead heat in the Senate.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to media at the Democratic National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2020, in Washington, D.C. | Getty Images
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks to media at the Democratic National Committee headquarters on Capitol Hill on November 3, 2020, in Washington, D.C. | Getty Images

All information is updated as of 4 pm ET Thursday, November 5.

Democrats are projected to retain their majority control of the House of Representatives, as 2020 election results continue to come in from all over the country. The Senate is a tighter race, as Democrats seek to flip majority control away from Republicans and Mitch McConnell. So far, Democrats have flipped two Senate seats, and Republicans have flipped one, with four races left to be called as of Thursday afternoon.

Democrats Keep House Majority

The Democrats regained control of the House in the 2018 “blue wave” midterms, when the most diverse slate of lawmakers in U.S. history was elected. Many of those first-term representatives won their re-election, including all four members of The Squad, putting the current balance of the House at 209 Democrats and 190 Republicans, with 36 races left to be called. A party needs a minimum of 218 seats to have majority control of the lower chamber of Congress.

While Democrats are projected to keep their House majority for another two years, Republicans flipped eight seats so far, which is more than some analysts expected. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who represents the 12th congressional district of California, handily won re-election with 79.2% of the vote. But the speaker is facing some criticism for the Democratic House losses, as progressive members of the party’s base and elected leaders increasingly challenge her more moderate, establishment style of politics and argue that Democrats can win by embracing bolder ideas.

The progressive #Squad is growing its caucus in the House, with the election of new first-time representatives including Cori Bush, Mondaire Jones, and Jamaal Bowman.

Can Democrats Still Flip The Senate?

Flipping the Senate from GOP majority control was a major priority for Democrats this year, following five years of Mitch McConnell’s Senate leadership where his stated agenda was total obstruction of any Democratic legislation (a mission accomplished). Should Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden secure the presidency, as he is on track to do, a GOP majority in the Senate would likely be a huge roadblock for his proposed legislative agenda.

The Senate is currently tied at 48 Democrats and 48 Republicans with four seats left to be called. The chances of a Democratic majority could come down to two Senate races in Georgia, where Rev. Raphael Warnock, a pastor at the church in Atlanta where Martin Luther King Jr. lectured, has forced Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler into a runoff election that will take place on January 5. (Loeffler was appointed to the seat by the state’s Republican governor after a sitting senator retired.) Journalist and former congressional staffer Jon Ossoff, who’s running against incumbent GOP Sen. David Perdue, is also on track to force his opponent to a runoff.

The remaining races are in North Carolina, where GOP Sen. Thom Tillis may hold off Democratic challenger Cal Cunningham by a small margin, and in Alaska, where GOP Sen. Dan Sullivan is pacing far ahead of his challenger, Democrat Al Gross, with 56% of the vote reported.

Democrats faced some disappointing losses in the Senate: Jaime Harrison made the re-election of Sen. Lindsey Graham (R ) a competitive race, but ultimately lost; and football coach Tommy Tuberville defeated the incumbent Sen. Doug Jones (D) in Alabama. 

The party still has a chance to flip the upper chamber of Congress, but it may take another two months. The deadline for Georgia residents to register for the January 5 runoff election is December 7, 2020.