Control of the US Senate remains lopsided, with Republicans moving toward a majority in the House of Representatives
PHOENIX, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Control of the U.S. Senate hung in the balance on Friday as election workers in Arizona and Nevada tallied hundreds of thousands of uncounted ballots, with officials in the two battleground states warning the process could take days.
Either the Democrats or the Republicans can win the Senate majority by nullifying the contest in both states. The split would transform the Dec. 6 Senate runoff in Georgia proxy battle for the chamber, which has control over President Joe Biden’s judicial appointments.
In the battle for the House of Representatives, Republicans were closing in on wresting control of the chamber from Biden’s Democrats. Control of the House would give Republicans veto power over Biden’s legislative agenda and allow them to launch potentially damaging investigations into his administration.
Republicans secured at least 211 of the 218 House seats they need for a majority after Tuesday’s midterm votes, Edison Research predicted late Thursday, while Democrats won 197. There are 27 races left to be determined, including several close ones. competitions.
The Republican House leader, Kevin McCarthy, has already announced his intention to run for president if Republicans take power, an outcome he has described as inevitable.
Biden told reporters Thursday that he and McCarthy had spoken, but said he had not given up hope that Democrats could prevail in the House, despite the difficult odds.
“It’s still alive,” he said of their chances.
(Live election results from across the country are here)
Officials overseeing vote counts in Arizona and Nevada Senate races, where Democratic incumbents are trying to fend off Republican challengers, said it could take until next week to tally uncounted mail-in ballots.
A top election official in Arizona’s most populous county said Thursday that workers there have a backlog of more than 400,000 uncounted ballots.
“We’re going to work Friday, Saturday and Sunday and go through these ballots. The staff here is working 14 to 18 hours a day. We’re doing what we can,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates told reporters.
TRUMP ‘KINGMAKER’ STATUS VIOLATED
Tuesday’s by-election results fell far the big “red wave” of gains that Republicans expected, despite Biden’s anemic approval ratings and voters’ deep frustration with high inflation.
Democrats portrayed Republicans as extremists, pointing to the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate abortion rights nationwide and hundreds of Republican candidates which promoted former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was rigged.
Some of Trump’s most prominent candidates lost key runs on Tuesday, undermining his status as a Republican incumbent and leading several Republicans to blame his divisive brand for the party’s disappointing performance.
The outcome could increase the chances that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who defeated his Democrat on Tuesday, will decide to challenge Trump for the presidential nomination in 2024.
Although Trump has not officially launched a third campaign for the White House, former President strongly suggested he will do so and is planning a “special announcement” at his club in Florida on Tuesday.
Trump blasted DeSantis in a statement Thursday, taking credit for the governor’s political rise while attacking critics on his Truth Social social media page.
Even a narrow Republican majority in the House would be able to seek concessions in exchange for votes on a key issue such as raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
But with few votes at his disposal, McCarthy may struggle to hold his caucus together — especially a faction of the hard right that is heavily aligned with Trump and has little interest in compromise.
Reporting by Tim Reid in Phoenix and Joseph Ax in Washington; Authors: Joseph Ax and Rami Ayyub; Editing: Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Angus MacSwan
Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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