Control of U.S. Congress unclear as Republican ‘red wave’ fizzles

Date:

  • Republicans Still Prefer to Win House
  • Key races in both rooms too close to mention
  • Playing Biden for the next two years

ALPHARETTA, Ga./PHOENIX, Ariz., Nov. 9 (Reuters) – Republicans made modest gains in US midterm elections, but Democrats outperformed expectations as Senate control depended on three races that closed too close Wednesday afternoon stayed together.

The Georgia US Senate race between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker will take place Dec. 6, Edison Research predicted. That means it could be weeks before control of that chamber is known unless Democrats stop challengers in Nevada and Arizona.

Republicans won at least eight seats in the US House of Representatives, Edison Research predicted. That would be three more than it takes to take control of the Chamber of Democrats, although with 44 races left uncalled, the Republican margin could go up or down and might not be resolved for days.

Even a slim majority of the House would let Republicans lock in Democratic President Joe Biden for the next two years, block legislation and launch potentially politically damaging investigations.

But they seemed to fall far short of the overwhelming “red wave” victory they’d been aiming for, as Democrats avoided the kind of heavy mid-term defeat that often plagues incumbent presidents of both parties.

The results appeared to show voters chastising Biden for leading an economy hit by steep inflation, while also lashing out at Republican efforts to ban abortion and casting doubt on the nation’s counting process.

Poor performances by some candidates backed by Donald Trump — including Walker — indicated exhaustion with the kind of chaos sparked by the former Republican president, raising questions about the viability of his potential run for the White House in 2024.

“I think his ego is just too big to handle,” said Yvonne Langdon, 75, when she cast her vote for Republican candidates in Michigan on Tuesday.

Biden had interpreted Tuesday’s election as a test of American democracy at a time when hundreds of Republican candidates were embracing Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election had been stolen from him.

A number of election deniers who supported Trump’s claims were elected to office on Tuesday, but many of those seeking positions to oversee state-level elections were defeated.

There was no fear of violence or disruption by far-right pollsters at polling stations. Jen Easterly, head of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said she saw no evidence that the voting system had been compromised.

DEMOCRATS WIN PENNSYLVANIA

Control of the Senate would give Republicans the power to block Biden’s candidates for judicial and administrative positions. But in a crucial victory for Democrats, John Fetterman overturned a Republican seat in the US Senate in Pennsylvania, defeated Trump-backed retired celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz and bolstered his party’s chances of holding the chamber.

The White House took advantage of the lighter than expected losses. “Never underestimate how much Team Biden is underestimated,” White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said on Twitter.

Democrats also had their share of embarrassment, as New York Representative Sean Patrick Maloney, the chairman of the House Democrats re-election committee, admitted he had lost his own race.

If Republicans take control of Congress, they plan to cut costs in Social Security and Medicare safety net programs and implement permanent tax cuts that will expire in 2017.

Republicans could also mount a showdown on the debt ceiling to force major austerity measures, and cut aid to Ukraine.

Only 26 of the 53 most competitive races, based on a Reuters analysis of the leading unbiased forecasters, had been decided on Wednesday morning, raising the prospect that the final result might not be known for some time. The Democrats won 20 of those 26 games.

The party occupying the White House almost always loses seats in elections midway through a president’s first four-year term, and Biden has struggled with little public approval.

“We should have done better in this climate,” said Rob Jesmer, former head of the Republicans’ campaign arm in the Senate.

US stock indices fell on Wednesday as uncertainty weighed on traders’ mood.

MIXED DAY FOR TRUMP

Trump, who took an active role in recruiting Republican candidates, had mixed results.

He took a win in Ohio, where JD Vance, author of Hillbilly Elegy, won a Senate seat to hold it in Republican hands. But Doug Mastriano, another Trump ally, was handily beaten in the Pennsylvania governor’s race.

“While yesterday’s election was somewhat disappointing, from my personal standpoint it was a very big win,” he told Truth Social, its online platform.

Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who could challenge Trump in 2024, won re-election by nearly 20 percentage points, Edison predicted.

Thirty-five seats in the Senate, all 435 seats in the House and three dozen gubernatorial races were on the list.

(Live election results from around the country are here.)

The main problem weighing on Democrats has been persistently high annual inflation, which is the highest rate in 40 years at 8.2%.

Voters in California, Michigan and Vermont approved referendums that enshrine abortion rights in their state constitutions. Very conservative Kentucky seemed poised to reject a constitutional amendment that would have declared there was no right to abortion.

Reporting by Joseph Axe, Jason Lange, Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey, Moira Warburton, Gram Slattery, Makini Brice and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington, Gabriella Borter in Birmingham, Michigan, Nathan Layne in Alpharetta, Georgia, Masha Tsvetkova in New York, Tim Reid in Phoenix and Ned Parker in Reno, Nevada, and Lucy Raitano and Amanda Cooper in London; Written by Andy Sullivan and Richard Cowan; Editing by Ross Colvin, Scott Malone, Alistair Bell and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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