Democrats hope to retain power, while Republicans seek control of both the House and Senate. And although we all guess what will happen, the truth is that we don’t know what will play out.
With that uncertainty in mind, here are three different scenarios that could be key to how the battle for control shakes out.
The Georgia spill has decided the Senate If you follow politics at any level, definitely. Unlike other states with tight Senate races, Georgia requires candidates to receive a majority of the popular vote to win on Election Day. If there are no candidates, a run-off between the top two candidates will take place in December.
The conditions are quite ripe for such a scenario. Neither Democrat Sen. Raphael Warnock nor Republican Herschel Walker is at 50% in Georgia Senate polls. Libertarian Chase Oliver is coming in at 3% to 4%.
If all other races go as the polls predict, Democrats will have 49 seats, including Georgia. Republicans will have 50 seats. That means whichever party wins in Georgia would control the Senate.
The Senate is really predictable Then there’s the other side of the spectrum. Most people predict that we won’t know who wins the Senate until days, if not weeks, after Election Day. That may be the case, but it is far from certain.
There are a few ways we can get a call pretty quickly. The easiest way for this to happen is for the Republicans to win Georgia (to avoid a runoff with the majority) and win Pennsylvania. Thus, we are probably not in Arizona and Nevada based on what could be longer counts.
Another way this could happen is if there is some surprising result in the east. If Republicans have a really good night, they could win the New Hampshire Senate race, where Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan is running against Republican Don Bolduc. If Democrats have a really good night, they could win Ohio’s Senate race, an open seat in which Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan faces Trump against JD Vance.
Early house call A few weeks ago, the House and Senate races were close. While the Senate still does, it’s easy to see how the House could become a relative hit.
If that happens, we won’t have to wait for the West Coast. We won’t have to wait for the results of the qualifying voting races.
Instead, we will have a good idea even from the earliest closing of the survey. Consider such a race for Virginia’s 2nd District, a swing district centered on Virginia Beach. Rep. Elaine Luria would likely win if Democrats were competitive in the House. If he is defeated, Republicans are likely on their way to control of the House.
If it’s a big Republican night, we could also see Democratic Rep. Frank Mrvan descend on Indiana. Indiana, unlike many other states, requires voters to have an excuse to vote.
The bottom line is that if the Republicans get around 240 seats (as they did in 2010), then the race for control of the House is not going away.
Read more potential Election day scenarios here.