That’s how many Senate seats Democrats would control if Democrat Cory Booker wins a special election today in New Jersey.
A victory by Booker, the Newark mayor who leads Republican opponent Steve Lonegan in polls, would allow the Democrat to succeed Republican Jeff Chiesa, who’s been serving the past four months as the interim appointee of Republican Gov. Chris Christie. Democrat Frank Lautenberg died in June.
That 55th Democratic vote could come in handy for Majority Leader Harry Reid as he seeks to advance the priorities of his party and President Barack Obama in the Senate, including a resolution to the partial government shutdown and the impasse over raising the $16.7 trillion federal borrowing limit.
A Booker victory would mark the 14th straight win for Democrats in Senate elections in New Jersey, a streak that began in 1976. Only in West Virginia and Hawaii have the Republicans gone longer without winning a Senate race, according to Smart Politics.
Democrats have won those 13 consecutive Senate elections by an average margin of 11 percentage points. A Booker win by at least 10 points would for the first time give Democrats three straight double-digit wins in New Jersey Senate races.
Booker led Lonegan by 52 percent to 42 percent in a Monmouth University poll conducted Oct. 10-12.