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Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison conceded the race to incumbent Sen. Lindsey Graham on Tuesday after fundraising over $100 million during his campaign. Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Getty

Congressional races saw record-shattering fundraising numbers this year, with Democrats pouring money into candidates challenging Republican incumbents.

Why it matters: Democrats heavily invested in these contenders with the hope of flipping the Senate. The races brought in an outpouring of small-dollar donations.

The big picture: Though Democratic campaigns collected many millions of dollars this election cycle, several races in key states have resulted in losses.

What they're saying: "You wasted a lot of money," Graham said in his victory speech Tuesday night after defeating Harrison. “This is the worst return on investment in the history of American politics."

The bottom line: Despite picking up Senate seats in Colorado and Arizona, Democrats' hopes of winning control of the Senate faded as they lost a series of high-profile races.

Go deeper

How Dems could notch tech wins even with a dysfunctional Senate

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tech policy may be one area where Democrats will be able to smash through the logjam forming around their razor-thin Senate margin and actually pass meaningful legislation.

The big picture: Many Democrats want to hit Big Tech with new antitrust laws, updates to Section 230, privacy legislation and more. The party may be united enough on such issues — and able to peel off GOP support — to pass laws around them even as the Senate's 50-50 party-line split and shifting priorities imperil other legislative possibilities.

McConnell defends filibuster: "You don’t destroy the Senate for fleeting advantage"

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday condemned Democratic support for abolishing the legislative filibuster, arguing that it would create a "scorched-earth Senate."

Why it matters: Many Democrats are pushing to use their newfound majority to eliminate the 60-vote threshold needed for major legislation, which would make it easier to pass progressive priorities. Resistance from Republicans and moderate Democratic Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (Ariz.) and Joe Manchin (W.V.) has made that unlikely.

U.S. women's soccer team beats Netherlands, moves on to Olympic semifinals

Members of the U.S. women's soccer team celebrate after beating the Netherlands. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The U.S. women's soccer team beat the Netherlands in a penalty kick shootout on Friday, propelling them to the semifinals of the Olympic Games.

Why it matters: The win brings the U.S. team one step closer to its quest for a historic back-to-back double — winning the Olympics after emerging victorious at the Women's World Cup. The U.S. will play Canada in the semifinals next week.