PHOENIX, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Democrats retained control of the U.S. Senate, handing President Joe Biden a major victory and dashing hopes of the “red wave” Republicans have been waiting for ahead of the midterm elections.
Biden – who has struggled with low approval ratings ahead of Tuesday’s election, in part due to public frustration with inflation – said Saturday’s late result has him looking forward to the rest of his term. mandate.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer described it as a “victory and vindication” for Democrats and their agenda. He accused the Republican Party of stoking fear and division during the campaign.
Republicans, however, remained poised to take control of the House of Representatives as officials continued to count ballots.
It could take several days or more before the outcome of enough House races is known to determine which party will control the 435-seat chamber. Returns continued to pour in for several races, including many in liberal-leaning California. On Saturday evening, the Republicans had won 211 seats, including 218 needed for a majority, ahead of the Democrats with 205.
“The American people have rejected the undemocratic, authoritarian, wicked, and divisive direction that MAGA Republicans wanted to take for our country,” Schumer said after Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s re-election in Nevada sealed control of the chamber for Biden’s Democrats.
Democrats would control the Senate, as they have for two years, with 50 of its 100 seats, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding a deciding vote.
“FOCUSED ON GEORGIA”
If Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock wins the Dec. 6 runoff election in Georgia against Republican challenger Herschel Walker, Democrats’ 51-49 majority would give them an extra edge by passing the few bills capable of advancing with a majority. simple, instead. of the 60 needed for most laws.
“We are now focusing on Georgia. We feel good where we are,” Biden said Sunday in Cambodia ahead of an East Asia summit. “I’m incredibly pleased with the turnout.”
Former President Donald Trump has been hovering all year over the 2022 midterm elections, which has used his continued popularity among far-right conservatives to sway the candidates the Republican Party has nominated for congressional races. , gubernatorial and local.
With the Republicans performing poorly – even if they get a narrow majority in the House – Trump has been blame to boost candidates who have failed to appeal to a sufficiently large electorate.
A Republican defeat in Georgia could further hurt Trump’s popularity as advisers say he plans to announce a third run for president in 2024 this week.
The result may increase the chances that the governor of Florida Ron DeSantiswho routed his Democratic challenger on Tuesday, chooses to challenge Trump for the 2024 presidential nomination.
Democrats had portrayed Republicans as extremists, pointing to the Supreme Court’s decision to eliminate a national abortion right and the hundreds of Republican candidates who promoted Trump’s bogus claims that the 2020 election was fraudulent.
Continued Senate scrutiny means Democrats will still be able to endorse Biden nominees such as federal judges. That would include Supreme Court appointees if vacancies open up over the next two years on the bench with a 6-3 Conservative majority.
House Republicans, if they win, have pledged to try to roll back Biden’s climate change victories and want to make permanent a set of expiring 2017 tax cuts. They also promised investigations into the activities of the Biden administration and investigations into the president’s son, who had business dealings with Ukraine and China.
Reporting by Tim Reid in Phoenix and Kanishka Singh, Richard Cowan and Jason Lange in Washington; Written by Kanishka Singh; Editing by William Mallard
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