Biden promises to work with Republicans because control of the US Congress is still not established
- Republicans were still favored to win the House
- Key races in both chambers are too close to call
- US stock indexes fall as uncertainty weighs on trader sentiment
ALPHARETTA, Ga./PHOENIX, Ariz., Nov 9 (Reuters) – Control of the U.S. Senate hung in the balance as Republicans moved closer to securing a majority in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, a day after Democrats beat expectations and avoided a Republican “red wave” ” in the by-elections.
Senate races in Nevada and Arizona, where Democratic leaders were trying to hold off Republican challengers, were still undecided, with thousands of uncounted ballots that could take days to tally.
If the parties split in those races, the Senate’s fate would come down to a runoff in Georgia for the second time in two years, after Edison Research forecast that neither incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock nor Republican Herschel Walker would reach the 50% needed to avoid December . 6 one-on-one rematches.
Republicans were closing in on the 218 seats needed to wrest control of the House from Democrats, with 210 now in their column, Edison Research predicted. But 21 of the 53 most competitive races, based on a Reuters analysis of leading nonpartisan prognosticators, were still up for grabs as of Wednesday night, raising the prospect that the final outcome may not be known for some time.
Even a slim majority in the House would allow Republicans to replace Democratic President Joe Biden during his next two years in office, blocking legislation and triggering potentially politically damaging investigations.
Speaking at a White House news conference, Biden pledged to work with Republicans and said he understood voters were frustrated despite the Democrats’ surprisingly competitive campaign.
“The American people have made it clear, I think, that they expect Republicans to be willing to work with me,” Biden said. He also reiterated his intention to run for re-election in 2024 and said he would make a final decision early next year.
A White House official said Biden spoke by phone Wednesday with Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy, who would be the leading candidate for House speaker if Republicans win a majority.
The election fell short of the landslide victory Republicans were seeking, as Democrats avoided the kind of crushing midterm defeat that often plagues incumbent presidents of either party.
The the results suggested voters they chastised Biden for presiding over an economy hit by the highest inflation in 40 years at 8.2 percent, while also slamming Republican efforts to ban abortion and casting doubt on the nation’s vote-counting process.
Poor performances by some candidates backed by Donald Trump – including Walker – have signaled exhaustion with the kind of mayhem the former Republican president has fueled, raising questions about the viability of his possible 2024 bid for the White House.
“I think his ego is just too big to handle,” Yvonne Langdon, 75, said as she voted for Republican candidates in Michigan on Tuesday.
Biden cast Tuesday’s election as a test of American democracy at a time when hundreds of Republican candidates bought into Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
A number of pro-choice deniers who supported Trump’s claims were elected to office Tuesday, but many of those seeking state-level election oversight positions were defeated.
“I think it was a good day for democracy,” Biden said.
Fears of violence or disruption by far-right polling observers did not materialize. Jen Easterly, head of the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, said she had seen no evidence that any voting system had been compromised.
Control of the Senate would give Republicans the power to block Biden’s judicial and administration nominees. But in a key Democratic victory, John Fetterman flipped a Republican-held US Senate seat in Pennsylvania, defeating Trump-backed celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz and boosting his party’s chances of retaining the chamber.
Democrats also had their share of embarrassment, as New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, chairman of the House Democratic Re-election Committee, admitted he had lost his own race.
If Republicans take control of either chamber, they plan to seek savings in the Social Security and Medicare programs and make permanent the tax cuts passed in 2017 that are set to expire.
Republicans could also engineer a showdown over the debt ceiling to extract major spending cuts and could cut aid to Ukraine.
The party that occupies the White House almost always loses seats in the middle of a president’s first four-year term, and Biden has struggled with low public approval ratings.
“In this climate, we should have done better,” said Rob Jesmer, the former head of the Senate Republican campaign.
US stock indexes fell on Wednesday as uncertainty weighed on traders’ sentiment.
MIX DAY FOR TRUMP
Trump, who played an active role in recruiting Republican candidates, did mixed results.
He scored a victory in Ohio, where “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance won a Senate seat to keep it in Republican hands. But Doug Mastriano, another Trump ally, was easily defeated in the Pennsylvania governor’s race.
Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who could challenge Trump in 2024, won re-election by nearly 20 percentage points, Edison predicted.
Thirty-five Senate seats, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and three dozen governorships were on the ballot.
(Live election results from across the country are here.)
Reporting by Joseph Ax, 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; Authors: Andy Sullivan and Richard Cowan; Editing: Scott Malone, Mary Milliken, Alistair Bell, Daniel Wallis, Howard Goller and Ana Nicolaci da Costa
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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