WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Republicans edged closer to a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday, two days after Democrats staved off an expected “red tide.” In mid-term elections.
Republicans have picked up at least 210 House seats, Edison Research predicts, eight short of the 218 needed to wrest the House from Democrats and effectively block President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.
Despite favoring Republicans, with 33 House races still undecided — including 21 of the 53 most competitive races, according to a Reuters analysis of leading nonpartisan forecasters — the final outcome won’t be determined for some time.
(Direct election results across the country Here.)
The fate of the Senate was more limited. Either party could seize control by winning the closest races in Nevada and Arizona, where officials are counting thousands of uncounted votes.
The incumbent party, in its first midterm election of a president, suffered heavy losses on Tuesday. Results Voters are punishing Biden for the worst inflation in 40 years.
But in close Senate battles in Nevada and Arizona, Democrats avoided the landslide Republicans expected.
Tuesday’s results suggest voters are lashing out against 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 embraced former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was stolen.
A split in the Senate vote would mean a second election in Georgia for the second time in two years.
Democrat incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker failed to reach 50% on Tuesday, setting them up to face each other on December 6.
Even a slim House majority would allow Republicans to shape the rest of Biden’s term, blocking priorities like abortion rights and launching investigations into his administration and family.
Biden, who heads to Egypt on Thursday for the COP27 UN climate change summit, acknowledged that reality on Wednesday, saying he was willing to work with Republicans.
A White House official said Biden spoke by phone with Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, who earlier in the day announced his intention to run for House speaker if Republicans control the chamber.
“I think the American people expect Republicans to be willing to work with me,” Biden said at the press conference.
If McCarthy becomes the next House speaker, he may have a challenge keeping his fractured caucus together with a hard-right that has little interest in compromise.
Republicans are expected to demand spending cuts next year in exchange for raising the nation’s debt ceiling, a clash that could threaten financial markets.
Control of the Senate, meanwhile, would give Republicans the power to block Biden’s nominees for judicial and executive posts.
The Senate is a toss-up
Thousands of votes remain uncounted in two closely contested states, Arizona and Nevada. Election officials in Arizona’s most populous Maricopa County said it could take at least until Friday to count all the votes there.
Many “election deniers” — those who support Trump’s false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him — won on Tuesday, but many who sought positions to oversee elections at the state level were defeated.
“It’s a good day for democracy, I think,” Biden said.
Trump, who has played an active role in recruiting Republican candidates, has had mixed results.
He scored a victory in Ohio, where “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance won a Senate seat in Republican hands. But several Trump-backed candidates suffered defeats, including retired celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz, who lost a key Senate race to Democrat John Fetterman in Pennsylvania.
Meanwhile, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who may challenge Trump in 2024, won re-election by nearly 20 percentage points, adding to his growing national profile.
Reporting by Joseph Ax, Andy Sullivan, Makini Price, Susan Hevey, Richard Cowan, Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Doina Chiaku in Washington, Gabriella Porter in Birmingham, Michigan, Nathan Lane in Alpharetta, Tim Reed in Georgia and Tim Reed in Barker. Reno, Nevada; By Joseph Ochs and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Tom Hoke and Angus MacSwan
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