The Democrats’ show of force allowed them cling to the senate and he came close to a historic setback in the House, creating a divided Congress that left Republicans in both chambers fighting over who is to blame and who should lead the party. Still, an upcoming shift in power, ending two years of unified Democratic control of Washington in January, is sure to complicate the second half of Biden’s term as Republicans gain the ability to initiate investigations and block legislation.
Some House races were still unresolved by Wednesday, including a handful in California, and the final result of all of them may not be known for some time. But the likely result is a slim Republican House majority in which party leaders are likely to will need bipartisan support for some legislation while they try to contest the different factions of the Republican Party.
The president’s party almost always loses seats in a first half term, and Republicans sought to make this year’s election a referendum on Biden and the economy as prices soared at their highest rate in 40 years. Exit polls, however, suggest that Democrats did indeed capitalize on anger over abortion access rollbacks and succeeded in shifting focus to their opponents in key races.
The House is already closely divided, with the current Democratic majority sitting at 220 seats. The Democrats were projected to have secured 210 seats so far for the next Congress.
The slim Republican majority to come has forced many Republican members, advisers and strategists to face the possibility that their agenda may never come to fruition. Internal fractures have made it difficult for Republican House speakers over the past decade to control the far-right wing of the party.
Some Republicans in the House are already expressing worries that the small size of their majority will encourage members of the right. Even a small group of Republican lawmakers could block measures while pushing for their priorities.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) won his fellow Republicans’ nomination Tuesday to serve as president next year, beating far-right Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz. ) on a secret ballot from 188 to 31. vote. But he will need at least 218 votes to prevail in another vote in January, and he may have a hard time reaching that number without making concessions to colleagues angry with the party leadership.
Disappointing midterm results have triggered impeachment in both chambers and intensified simmering disputes. Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) — The chairman of the Republican National Senatorial Committee has challenged Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for House minority leader, arguing that party leadership hasn’t done enough to introduce your plan for voters. McConnell prevailed in a Wednesday vote by Senate Republicans, and will retain the minority leader job.
Republicans this term have said they will focus mostly on investigating the Biden administration and have signaled an intention to use their powers to block Biden’s agenda. Potential investigative targets include the response to the coronavirus and the Biden administration’s border policies, the business dealings of Biden’s son Hunter Biden, and the FBI. Without evidence, Republicans have accused the FBI of investigating Trump’s politically motivated handling of classified documents.
Even as some Republicans have signaled such goals, it is possible that the strongest voices within the staunchly conservative House Freedom Caucus will push for immediate impeachments, a call leaders hoped to stifle with a larger ruling majority that failed to materialize.
The GOP achieved its slim majority long after party leaders had hoped to celebrate a larger margin. Republican candidates benefited from redistricting and strong showings in New York, a blue stronghold where they put Democrats on the defensive in districts Biden once won easily and where they also made the gubernatorial race competitive. They upended several closely watched seats, including defeating the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D), in an area Biden won in 2020.
The Republican Party consolidated its majority with another key victory in New York and key victories in the West. the washington post reported projected wins Monday and Tuesday for Republican Rep. David Schweikert in Arizona’s 1st congressional district; Republican Juan Ciscomani in Arizona’s 6th congressional district; Republican Brandon Williams in New York’s 22nd Congressional District; and Republican Lori Chavez-DeRemer in Oregon’s 5th Congressional District.
Other Republican picks include Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria’s battleground district in Virginia, Rep. Tom Malinowski’s seat in New Jersey, Rep. Cindy Axne’s Iowa district and several seats in Florida, where redistricting is also taking place. gave the party a boost and where Governor Ron DeSantis (R) performed strongly at the top of the ticket.
But Democratic candidates prevailed in many close races. Y found success in key areas by raising abortion as a campaign issue, after the Supreme Court this summer struck down Roe vs. Wade. The political fallout of the ruling was especially stark in Michigan, where a near-total 1931 abortion ban threatened to re-enforce and voters overwhelmingly approved Tuesday a ballot measure to guarantee abortion access in the state constitution.
Two vulnerable House Democrats, Rep. Elissa Slotkin and Rep. Daniel Kildee, won their races in Michigan, and Democrat Hillary Scholten flipped the seat held by Rep. Peter Meijer (right), where a far-right candidate who ousted him in the primary. Struggled to gain traction in the general election. Democrats also won a competitive gubernatorial race and seized control of the state legislature for the first time in decades.
Democrats were able to win in districts where Republicans were expected to easily flip seats, and many Republicans privately acknowledged that the quality of candidates was a problem. A tough result came in Washington state, where far-right Republican candidate Joe Kent lost to Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Pérez after Republicans ousted Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R), who voted to impeach Trump. , in the primaries of all parties.
While passing legislation will become a much more difficult task for an ideologically divided Republican Conference, House Republicans hope to immediately focus on some priorities that a majority of the conference agrees on early in their first term. Those plans include cutting funds allocated in the Reducing Inflation Act to hire 87,000 Internal Revenue Service employees as part of efforts to expand enforcement and account for retirements; approve a parental bill of rights; and present a proposal to achieve energy independence.
Leigh Ann Caldwell, Amy B Wang, and Jacqueline Alemany contributed to this report.