ATLANTA — Nevada's heated Senate race came to an end Saturday night when Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto won re-election. With that victory, the Democrats will maintain control of the United States Senate -- a major win for President Joe Biden.
The Senate is currently split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans with Vice President Kamala Harris getting the tie-breaking vote heading in to the Dec. 6 Georgia runoff.
So why does the runoff in the Peach State between Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker even matter if the Dems already have control?
“It is about turnout, turnout, turnout. People will forget to turn out to vote. There will be people who don't care that much about this race who will sit this race out," 11Alive News political analyst Andra Gillespie said.
Gillespie believes even with control of the U.S. Senate decided, both parties still have a lot at stake for Georgia's senate seat.
“The losses on Tuesday in the statewide constitutional offices certainly were a blow to Democrats, and they would actually want to make the case that they are still competitive and demonstrate that not just by the single digit margins," Gillespie said.
Gillespie said for Republicans, winning the seat has implications beyond 2022.
“This is a seat that was once held by Republicans, so Republicans have an incentive to try to recapture that seat," Gillespie said. "That makes it easier for them going into the next cycle in terms of trying to recapture control of the chamber in 2024.”
If Sen. Warnock wins his re-election bid, a 51-49 majority would be much better for the party. Here's why.
First, the tie-breaking vote would not come down to Harris each time -- meaning she would not have to stay in Washington DC every time the Senate votes.
If there is a 50-50 Senate, NBC's Chuck Todd says there is an official power sharing agreement between the two parties. Some of the committees, including the judiciary, end up evenly divided.
With the one-vote difference for the Democrats, they have the advantage of every committee.
Democratic control of the Senate also ensures a smoother process for Biden's Cabinet appointments and judicial picks, including those for potential Supreme Court openings.
The party will also keep control over committees and have the power to conduct investigations or oversight of the Biden administration, and will be able to reject legislation sent over by the House if the GOP wins that chamber.
“It's just simply better," Biden said. "The bigger the number, the better.”
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.