U.S. Senate up for grabs as Republicans move toward House majority

WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Republicans moved closer on Thursday to securing a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives while control of the Senate hinged on several tight races, two days after Democrats avoided an anticipated “red wave” of Republican results. in the midterm elections.

Republicans have captured at least 210 House seats, Edison Research estimated, eight short of the 218 needed to wrest the House away from Democrats and effectively end President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.

While Republicans remain favored, there are 33 House contests to be decided — including 21 of the 53 most competitive races, according to a Reuters analysis of leading nonpartisan forecasts — likely ensuring the final outcome won’t be determined for some time.

(Live election results from around the country are here.)

The fate of the Senate was far less certain. Either party can seize control by winning too-close-to-call races in Nevada and Arizona, where officials are tallying thousands of uncounted votes.

The historically ruling party suffered heavy casualties in the president’s first midterm election and Tuesday’s results suggested voters were punishing Biden for the highest inflation in 40 years.

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But the Democrats were able to avoid the main defeat that the Republicans had anticipated and held in close Senate battles in Nevada and Arizona.

Tuesday’s results also suggested voters opposed Republican efforts to ban abortion and cast doubt on the nation’s vote counting process.

Biden has cast the election as a test of US democracy at a time when hundreds of Republican candidates have rejected former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

A split in the Senate vote would mean the majority would come down to a runoff election in Georgia for the second time in two years.

Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker both failed to reach 50% on Tuesday, forcing them into a one-on-one battle on December 6.

Even a slim House majority would allow Republicans to build on the rest of Biden’s term, blocking priorities like abortion rights and launching investigations into his administration and family.

Biden, who traveled to Egypt on Thursday for the United Nations’ COP27 climate change summit, acknowledged that fact on Wednesday, saying he was ready to work with Republicans.

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White House officials said Biden spoke by phone with Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy, who announced earlier in the day his intention to nominate House speaker if Republicans control the chamber.

“The American people have made it clear, I think, that they expect the Republicans to be ready to work with me as well,” Biden said at a news conference.

If McCarthy is the next speaker of the House, he could be a challenge to unite his fractious caucus, with the far-right having no interest in compromise.

Republicans are expected to demand spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’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.

Senate A Toss-up

Thousands of votes remain uncounted in the two highly competitive states of Arizona and Nevada. Election officials in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous, said it could take until at least Friday to count all the votes there.

A number of “electoral denialists” – 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 lost.

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“It’s a good day, I think, for democracy,” Biden said.

Trump, who took an active role in recruiting Republican candidates, had mixed results.

He notched a victory in Ohio, where “Hillbilly Elegy” author JD Vance won the Senate seat to remain in Republican hands. But several other Trump-backed candidates suffered defeats, such as retired celebrity surgeon Mehmet Oz, who lost a key Senate race in Pennsylvania to Democrat John Fetterman.

Meanwhile, Republican Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who could 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 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 Ax and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Tom Hogue and Angus MacSwan

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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