- Senate control is still undecided
- Counting of votes may take several days
- Republicans are closing in on control of the House
- Biden says hope is “still alive.”
PHOENIX, Nov 11 (Reuters) – Arizona and Nevada election workers are working on Friday to count hundreds of thousands of votes that could determine control of the U.S. Senate and the shape of President Joe Biden’s next two-year term. Officials in the two warring states warn it could drag on for days.
After Tuesday’s midterm voting, either the Democrats or the Republicans could compete for majorities in both states. A split could turn Georgia’s Dec. 6 runoff Senate election into a proxy battle for the chamber.
Political analysts expected a rush of campaign funds to Georgia as Republicans and Democrats prepare for the final battle of the 2022 midterm elections. read more
Democrats on Tuesday held off on the “red tide” gains expected by Republicans, who have criticized Biden over inflation and rising crime rates. Biden’s tenure since taking office in 2021 has been marked by the economic scars of the COVID-19 pandemic after four turbulent years under former President Donald Trump.
In the race for the House of Representatives, Republicans were close to wresting control of the chamber from Biden’s Democrats. House control would give Republicans veto power over Biden’s legislative agenda and allow him to launch damaging investigations into his administration.
Republicans won at least 211 of the 218 House seats they need for a majority, Edison Research projected late Thursday, while Democrats won 197, not including two uncalled races pitting two Democrats against each other. 27 races are still undecided, including several close contests.
Republican Party leader Kevin McCarthy has already announced his intention to run for speaker if Republicans take over, which 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 win the House despite the steep odds.
“It’s still alive,” he said of their chances.
Biden portrayed the vote as a fight to save democracy after Republican candidates encouraged Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election, which Biden won, was rigged. His fellow Democrats branded Republicans extremists and pointed to their desire to pass a national abortion ban and cut spending on social programs for the elderly and poor.
(Direct election results across the country Here)
Officials overseeing vote counts in the Arizona and Nevada Senate races have said it could take until next week to count the uncounted mail-in ballots, which Democratic incumbents have tried to fend off Republican challengers.
Their work has been slowed by the need to match signatures on mail-in ballots with voter registration signatures, especially in Arizona after a large number of ballots were cast on Election Day.
A senior election official in Arizona’s most populous county said Thursday that workers there left more than 400,000 ballots uncounted.
“We’ll be working Friday and Saturday and Sunday, moving through these ballots. The staff here is working 14 to 18 hours a day. We’re doing the best we can,” Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates told reporters.
Some of Trump’s most highly-approved candidates lost key races on Tuesday, undermining his status as the Republican kingmaker and leading many Republicans to blame his brand of divisiveness for the party’s disappointing performance.
The decision could boost the chances of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who defeated his Democratic challenger on Tuesday, to challenge Trump for the 2024 presidential nomination.
While Trump has yet to officially launch a third White House campaign, the former president has strongly suggested he will and plans a “special announcement” at his Florida club on Tuesday.
Trump slammed DeSantis in a statement Thursday, crediting the governor’s political rise while attacking critics on his social media site, Truth Social.
Even a narrow Republican majority could demand concessions next year in exchange for votes on key issues like raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
But with some votes to spare, Republican lawmakers may struggle to hold together a caucus — especially the hard-right faction that is largely aligned with Trump and has little interest in compromise.
Reporting by Tim Reed in Phoenix and Joseph Ochs and Makini Price in Washington; By Rami Ayyub, Joseph Ochs and Richard Cowan; Editing by Angus MacSwan and Alistair Bell
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.