PHOENIX, Ariz./BIRMINGHAM, Mich., Nov 8 (Reuters) – Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis was part of a wave of incumbents who comfortably won re-election in the U.S. midterm elections on Tuesday. One, and this could usher in a new era. Divide the government and shrink Democratic President Joe Biden’s power in Washington.
Edison Research expects DeSantis, a likely contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, to reject Democratic Representative Charlie Crist. According to Edison, seven Republicans also won U.S. Senate seats, although no one was surprised.
With a majority of polls in half of the 50 U.S. states closed, the initial vote would not change the balance of power in the 50-50 Senate, which Democrats currently control with a tie-breaking vote.
35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are on the ballot. Republicans are generally leaning toward gaining the five seats needed to take control of the House, but control of the Senate may come down to tight contests in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona. Three dozen gubernatorial races are also in jeopardy.
The end result is unlikely to be known anytime soon.
More than 46 million Americans voted by mail or in person before Election Day, according to the American Elections Project, and state election officials have warned that counting those votes will take time. Control of the Senate could wait until a possible December. 6 Georgia runoff.
(Live election results from across the country are here.)
Exit polls show high inflation and abortion rights are the top concerns for voters in an election that is preparing to hand control of at least one House of Congress to Republicans. A divided government could end Biden’s legislative agenda.
Local officials have reported isolated problems across the country, including a bomb threat in Louisiana and a paper shortage in one Pennsylvania county.
In Maricopa County, Arizona — a key battleground — Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters and the National Party filed an emergency lawsuit seeking an extension to the polls after some tabulators malfunctioned.
The issues have provoked unsubstantiated claims by former President Donald Trump and his supporters that the failures were intentional.
Many Republican candidates have endorsed Trump’s false claim that his 2020 loss to Biden was due to widespread fraud.
Republican candidates leading the state electoral agencies in swing states such as Nevada, Arizona and Michigan have embraced Trump’s lies that have Democrats worried they could interfere with the 2024 presidential race if they win .
“They deny that the last election was legal,” Biden said on a radio show aimed at black voters. “Unless they win, they’re not sure they’ll accept the result.”
Trump, who voted in Florida, has often hinted at a third presidential bid. He said on Monday that he would make a “big announcement” on Nov. 1. 15.
Biden is expected to watch the results at the White House, where the usually quiet hallways are crowded with aides. A Biden adviser, who expected a rough night, said Democrats had done their best, given higher gas prices and inflation, in part because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The party that occupies the White House almost always loses seats in midterm elections, but Democrats had hoped that the Supreme Court’s June decision to overturn national abortion rights would help them challenge history.
But stubbornly high inflation (8.2%) at a 40-year high has weighed on their chances throughout the campaign.
“The economy sucks. I blame the current administration,” said Bethany Hadelman, who said she voted for the Republican candidate in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Fears of rising crime are also a factor in left-leaning areas such as New York, where incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathy Hocher faces a tough challenge from Republican Lizel Ding.
“We have criminals who keep repeating their crimes. They go to jail and come out a few hours later or the next day,” said John Del Santo, a 35-year-old New York City paralegal who said he voted for Zeldin.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll this week found that only 39 percent of Americans approve of the way Biden works. Some Democratic candidates have deliberately distanced themselves from the White House as Biden’s approval ratings dwindle.
Trump is similarly low in the polls, with only 41% of respondents to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll saying they had a favorable view of him.
In Congress, the Republican-controlled House would be able to block bills that touch on Democratic priorities like abortion rights and climate change, while the Republican Senate would control Biden’s judicial nominations, including any Supreme Court vacancies.
Republicans could also mount a showdown over the national debt ceiling, which could shake financial markets and open investigations into Biden’s administration and households.
If Republicans regain control of Congress, they will have the power to block aid to Ukraine, but analysts say they are more likely to slow or cut the flow of defense and economic aid.
Reporting by Joseph Ax, Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey, Gram Slattery and Trevor Hunnicutt in Washington, Gabriella Borter in Royal Oak, Michigan, Nathan Layne in Alpharetta, Georgia, Masha Tsvetkova in New York, Tim Reid in Phoenix and Ned Parker in Reno , Nevada; Writing by Joseph Axe and Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone, Alistair Bell, Howard Goller, and Daniel Wallis
Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.