WASHINGTON, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Control of the U.S. House of Representatives hinged on Monday on several close races that could secure a majority for Republicans after midterm elections that saw President Joe Biden’s Democrats overtake expectations and retain the Senate.
Republicans were closer to winning the House, having secured 211 seats to Democrats’ 206, including 218 needed for a majority. But the final result may not be known for days, as officials continue counting ballots nearly a week after Americans head to the polls.
Democrats described their better-than-expected performance as a vindication of their platform and a rebuke to Republican efforts to undermine the validity of election results.
Other high-profile uncalled races include the Arizona gubernatorial contest, in which Republican Kari Lake, who promoted former President Donald Trump’s 2020 baseless voter fraud allegations, trailed her opponent. democrat.
There are still 18 outstanding House races, 13 of which are considered narrowly competitive, according to a Reuters compilation of leading nonpartisan forecasters. Ten of the remaining contests were in liberal-leaning California.
A Republican victory in the House would pave the way for two years of divided government while giving Biden’s opponents the power to limit his political agenda and launch potentially damaging investigations into his administration and family.
Jim Banks, a Republican congressman from Indiana, said he expects his party to win a slim majority in the 435-seat chamber and serve as a “last line of defense to block the agenda of Biden,” while launching investigations into the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan. , the origin of COVID and pandemic lockdowns.
“This needs to be a focal point of every congressional committee, especially in the Republican-controlled House,” Banks told Fox News on Sunday.
Democrats, after winning the Senate with a victory in Nevada on Saturday and extinguishing Republican hopes of a “red wave” of gains, have turned their attention to a runoff in Georgia that could bolster their standing in Congress.
A Democratic victory in the Dec. 6 runoff between Sen. Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker would give the party absolute majority control, tightening its grip on committees, bills and judicial choices.
Nevada’s victory put the Democrats in the lead in a 50-50 Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the deciding vote.
Even though Republicans win a narrow majority in the House, Democrats’ performance suggests they’ve successfully framed their opponents as extremists, partly underscoring the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a nationwide abortion right in following conservative judicial appointments.
But the results have also led to increased scrutiny of Trump, who has used his popularity among far-right conservatives to influence Republican candidates nominated for congressional, gubernatorial and local races.
A Republican defeat in Georgia could further hurt Trump’s popularity as advisers say he plans to announce a third presidential bid this week in 2024. He has been accused of encouraging candidates unable to please a large enough audience.
One candidate Trump has firmly backed is Kari Lake, who trails Democrat Katie Hobbs in the Arizona gubernatorial race by 1.1 percentage points with about 93% of the votes counted, according to Edison Research.
The election results seemed to draw some soul-searching from key Republican lawmakers. Lindsey Graham, a veteran Republican senator, said the planned elections for the Republican Senate leadership should be postponed until after the race in Georgia.
“All Republicans should be focused on winning Georgia and trying to figure out the midterm elections before the Senate leadership election or moving on to the 2024 presidential race,” Graham wrote on Twitter.
Written by Rami Ayyub
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