WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was eating Peking duck at a Chinese restaurant with family and friends on Manhattan’s West side on Saturday evening when an aide called with urgent news: Democrats would win Nevada’s Senate seat and keep their majority.
The restaurant erupted in cheers as the news flashed across a television screen, and a group celebrating a birthday sent him a slice of cake.
But Schumer didn’t stay to celebrate. He was soon rushing back across town for an impromptu, late-night news conference in the lobby of a building near his office.
“I will once again be majority leader,” he declared to the cameras, almost giddily.
The 2022 election was “a victory and a vindication for Democrats,” he said.
It was vindication for the often-underestimated Schumer, in particular, who has racked up a series of unexpected legislative victories this year as he has navigated Democrats’ slim 50-50 majority, with Vice President Kamala Harris a tie-breaking vote. But the midterm elections held the biggest surprise of all, with his party successfully defending seats despite historical trends and low approval ratings for President Joe Biden. The result: another two years of narrow Senate control.
Even a narrow majority has huge consequences for Biden and his party, as the Senate confirms executive branch nominees and judges, including for the Supreme Court if there are any vacancies in the next two years. Democrats will be able to decide what bills to put on the Senate floor as Republicans — who will possibly control the House — beat up on the president politically ahead of the 2024 election.
“Listen, I was on top of every one of these campaigns,” Schumer said in an interview in his Capitol office on Monday, a fire roaring behind him and his elation...