Control of US Congress Hangs after Midterm
As America wakes up to a new day after midterm elections, it is not still clear who take control of Congress- whether President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party or former President Donald J. Trump and his Republican Party.
Democrats had a reason for cautious optimism on Tuesday night, as some of their endangered candidates appeared likely to emerge victorious in the midterm elections, but Republicans still enjoyed a narrow advantage in the battle for control of the House of Representatives.
Americans headed to the polls on Tuesday to determine control of the US Congress for the next two years, and election forecasts had favored Republicans in the final days of campaigning. The president’s party typically loses seats in the midterms, and Joe Biden’s low approval rating, combined with concerns about the state of the US economy, had lowered Democrats’ expectations, according to the Guardian.
But some key races were tilting toward Democrats in the final hours of Tuesday night, including one of the biggest prizes of the night: a ferociously contested Senate race in Pennsylvania between Mehmet Oz, a Trump-backed Republican, and Democrat John Fetterman, who has been battling to assure voters he is fit for office after suffering a stroke on the campaign trail.
“We held the line,” a teary Fetterman said, declaring victory in a speech to supporters early on Wednesday morning.
In an early sign, the party was poised to stave off staggering losses in the House, Democrats won two of three House races in Virginia and tempered Republicans’ boasts of an election-day blowout. Jennifer Wexton and Abigail Spanberger fended off Republican challengers, though Elaine Luria – a member of the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection – conceded to her opponent, Republican Jen Kiggans.
With many races still too close to call, control of Congress – and the future of Biden’s agenda – hung in the balance. Outcomes of some closely contested elections are not expected for several days, or even weeks. But the early results already returned one certainty: the election is not unfolding as Republicans had hoped.
“Definitely not a Republican wave, that’s for darn sure,” senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, told MSNBC as results filtered in on Tuesday night.
In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was “clear that House Democratic members and candidates are strongly outperforming expectations across the country”.
Despite some glimmers of hope for Democrats, Republicans were still favored to regain control of the House, in part thanks to a favorable redistricting season following the 2020 census. The party has flipped at least three seats in Florida, where state legislators redrew the congressional map to give Republicans a significant advantage. And in New York, congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, chair of the House Democrats’ House campaign arm, charged with protecting the party’s narrow majority this cycle, appeared unlikely to win re-election in his newly-drawn district.
“It is clear that we are gonna take the House back,” Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House leader who hopes to replace Pelosi as Speaker if his party wins control of the chamber, told supporters in Washington.
The Senate Race
In the fight for the Senate, which is currently split 50-50, several races remained too close to call in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock was running neck and neck with Republican Herschel Walker, elevating the possibility of a runoff next month if neither candidate can capture 50% of the vote.
In the west, Democratic incumbents Mark Kelly of Arizona and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada held early but by no means certain leads. Masto and her Republican opponent Adam Laxalt both said they did not expect results in their tightly-contested race until later in the week.
JD Vance, the Trump-backed author of Hillbilly Elegy, defeated Democratic congressman Tim Ryan in an unexpectedly close contest for Ohio’s open Senate seat, while Republican Ted Budd beat back a spirited challenge from Democrat Cheri Beasley for an open Senate in North Carolina.
But the successes of Democratic senators Michael Bennet of Colorado and Maggie Hassan, who were considered endangered in the event of a Republican blowout, gave his party hopes of maintaining control of the upper chamber.
The outcome of races for House and Senate will determine the future of President Joe Biden’s agenda and serve as a referendum on his administration as the nation reels from record-high inflation and concerns over the direction of the country. Republican control of the House would likely trigger a round of investigations into Biden and his family, while a GOP Senate takeover would hobble Biden’s ability to make judicial appointments.