WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Republicans edged closer to securing a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives early on Thursday as Senate control hung in the balance, two days after Democrats avoided a Republican “red wave” in midterm elections.
Republicans had captured at least 210 House seats, according to Edison Research, eight fewer than the 218 needed to wrest the House from Democrats and effectively halt President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.
While Republicans remain favored, 33 House contests remained to be decided – including 21 of the 53 most competitive races, based on a Reuters analysis of leading nonpartisan forecasters – likely ensuring the end result will not be determined. before some time.
(Live election results from across the country are here.)
The fate of the Senate was much less certain. Either side could gain control by sweeping too-close races in Nevada and Arizona, where officials are methodically tallying thousands of uncounted ballots.
A split would mean the Senate majority would come down to a Georgia runoff for the second time in two years. Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker failed to reach 50% on Tuesday, forcing them into a one-on-one battle on Dec. 6.
Even a narrow majority in the House would allow Republicans to shape the rest of Biden’s term, blocking priorities such as abortion rights and launching investigations into his administration and his family.
Biden acknowledged that reality on Wednesday, saying he was ready to work with Republicans. A White House official said Biden spoke by phone with House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy, who earlier in the day announced his intention to run for House Speaker if Republicans were in control. bedroom.
“The American people have made it clear, I think, that they expect Republicans to be willing to work with me as well,” Biden said at a White House press conference.
If McCarthy is the next House speaker, he might find it difficult to keep his caucus restless, with a far-right wing uninterested in compromise.
Republicans are expected to demand spending cuts in return for raising the country’s borrowing limit next year, a showdown that could spook financial markets.
Control of the Senate, meanwhile, would give Republicans the power to block Biden’s nominees for judicial and administrative posts.
The ruling party historically suffered heavy losses in a president’s first midterm election, and Biden has struggled with low approval ratings. But the Democrats were able to avoid the crushing defeat the Republicans had anticipated.
Tuesday’s results suggest voters are punishing Biden for the steepest inflation in 40 years, while also attacking Republican efforts to ban abortion and cast doubt on the nation’s vote counting process.
Biden had framed the election as a test of American democracy at a time when hundreds of Republican candidates have embraced Trump’s bogus claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
A number of Holocaust deniers won on Tuesday, but many of those seeking to oversee the state-level elections were defeated.
“It was a good day, I think, for democracy,” Biden said.
Trump, who has taken an active role in recruiting Republican candidates, has had mixed results.
He picked up a victory in Ohio, where “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance won a Senate seat to keep it in Republican hands. But several other Trump-backed candidates suffered defeats, such as famed retired surgeon Mehmet Oz, who lost a crucial Senate race in Pennsylvania to Democrat John Fetterman.
Meanwhile, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who could challenge Trump in 2024, won reelection by nearly 20 percentage points, adding to his growing national profile.
Reporting by Joseph Axe, Andy Sullivan, Makini Brice, Susan Heavey, Richard Cowan, Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Doina Chiacu in Washington, Gabriella Borter in Birmingham, Michigan, Nathan Layne in Alpharetta, Georgia, Tim Reid in Phoenix and Ned Parker in Reno, Nevada; Written by Joseph Axe; Editing by Tom Hogue
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