Herschel Walker’s loss Tuesday night to incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) means that Democrats now control 51 out of 100 Senate seats. The only person probably happier than President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris? Sen. Joe Manchin.
At a Wednesday party hosted by the bipartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, he told me he was pleased with the results of Tuesday’s Georgia runoff. Manchin emphatically affirmed that he was.
“I don’t have to be 50 anymore,” Manchin said. “51 is good.”
The West Virginia senator represents a state that gave former President Donald Trump a 40-point victory in 2020. As the swing vote of the Senate, Manchin has faced relentless ire from his party’s left wing, borderline harassment from the activist class, and frustration from the White House. Now, with the buffer of an extra Democrat in the chamber, the fate of Biden’s agenda will no longer hinge solely on Manchin, who faces a rough reelection in 2024.
Other senators spotted at the CRFB festivities included James Lankford (R-OK) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
The least happy senator spotted that night: Rick Scott (R-FL), who made an early beeline for the exit. Despite winning an award from the CRFB, the Florida senator donned a scowl on his face, thrusting his shiny new trophy into the arms of an aide. Scott, who headed the NRSC this cycle, has come under fire in recent weeks, with fellow Republican senators calling to audit the organization. Whereas Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Senate Leadership Fund spent a staggering $18 million on the Georgia runoff, Politico reports that the NRSC spent just half a million on television ads. Walker ultimately lost to Warnock by a wider margin in the runoff than Kelly Loeffler did in January 2021.