NewsNational Politics


How something unexpected could easily flip control of the United States Senate

Progressives question slow pace in Congress
Capitol Building
Posted at 2:27 PM, Jun 11, 2021

WASHINGTON — Democrats control the White House, the House of Representatives and the Senate — but control isn't guaranteed forever.

The 2022 midterm elections are still a year and a half away. But with such a slim majority in the Senate, if something unexpected and sudden happens with just one member of the Democratic caucus, everything could potentially change.

The Democratic majority in the Senate is 50-50 presently, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking ties.


If a scandal or an illness inflicts any Democrat in the Senate, President Joe Biden's agenda would be brought to a standstill.

If a Democratic senator is forced to leave their post, in most states, a Democratic governor could appoint another Democrat, restoring the current balance of power.

But things get more complicated if the sitting governor of a state is a Republican. or if a special election has to take place.

Currently, there are Republican governors in Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, West Virginia, Vermont, Massachusetts and Georgia. There is also at least one Democratic senator representing those states.

In each one of those states, governors can pick a replacement before the next election can occur. In some states, the replacement serves the remainder of the outgoing senators term.

Under the current scenario, it's highly likely a Republican governor would pick a Republican, giving Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his collegues control of the Senate again.

Some states don't allow gubernatorial selections, like Wisconsin and Oregon. That means if a Democratic senator in one of those states leaves office, a special election would occur — with control of the Senate on the line.


Frustration is beginning to grow among progressives on Capitol Hill who are upset voting rights, gun control, infrastructure and many other campaign promises have yet to pass or receive clear direction.

Frustration is also mounting with Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, who is 82 years old and still on the Supreme Court. Many Democrats want him to step down while they are in power so an equally liberal and younger justice can take his place.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, has been especially vocal.

“During the Obama admin, folks thought we’d have a 60 Dem majority for a while. It lasted 4 months. Dems are burning precious time,” she tweeted.