Struggle for control of the U.S. Senate enters its final tense hours

The U.S. Capitol building. (Photo by Matt H. Wade via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA)

WASHINGTON — Democrats have a shot at winning the White House, capturing the Senate majority and keeping their hold on the House — an election result that could dramatically shift the policy agenda away from the gridlock that’s gripped the nation’s capital for years.

In the Senate, the clearest route to that outcome is through flipping GOP-held seats in Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and either Iowa or North Carolina, according to experts who track Senate races. But even Republican-held seats in ruby-red states like Georgia, South Carolina and Montana have grown surprisingly competitive in the final weeks before the election, and close results could mean a delayed final verdict on the Senate majority.

Polls show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden maintaining leads in the national popular vote as well as in battleground states. If Biden wins, the former vice president is all but guaranteed to be working with a Democratic House. And if Democrats flip the Senate as well, they would have the votes in Congress to push through to the Oval Office their most pressing priority — broad economic relief for Americans, businesses and state and local governments struggling amid the pandemic.