Final tallies for control of U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate now show that each party has its own chamber; Democrats barely control the Senate, while Republicans hold a slim majority in the House of Representatives.
Warnock won 51.4% of the ballots cast compared to Walker’s 48.6%. That gives Democrats a 50 to 49 majority in the Senate, with one senator, Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, declaring herself an independent late last week. Republicans took control of the House of Representatives in November with a total of 222 seats to the Democrats’ 213.
Analysts with the University of Virginia Center for Politics say that with a third of sitting senators up for election in 2024, Warnock’s Georgia win gives Democrats a fighting chance to keep control of the Senate at least until 2026.
“The major thing is the political dynamic. We know Ohio, West Virginia and Montana are going to vote Republican for president unless there’s some great change by 2024,” said Kyle Kondik, managing editor of the Crystal Ball. “If the Democrats were going to hold the Senate in 2024, they needed to get this extra seat, and they got it.”
Kondik said the added security of a two-member majority will also give Senate Democrats more sway in legislation and nominations. (Sinema has said she will continue to caucus with Senate Democrats.)
“[Democrats] are now going to have real majorities on committees. It sort of greases the skids for judicial nominations – and the Senate is kind of a judicial nominee factory at this point, as both sides try and fill as many of these vacancies as they can,” he said.
“They’re checking the actuary tables to make sure the folks are relatively young and relatively healthy,” Kondik joked.
Warnock first made it to the Senate in a special election runoff in 2021. This will be his first full six-year term. He finished just ahead of Walker in the November general election, but neither candidate won a majority of the popular vote, as required by Georgia law. That led to the runoff.
Sabato’s Crystal Ball Associate Editor J. Miles Coleman said the November race between Walker and Warnock, which also included Libertarian Party candidate Chase Oliver, who won 2% of the vote, shows the power of swing voters.