U.S. Senate up for grabs as GOP moves toward House majority

WASHINGTON, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Republicans secured a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday and control of the Senate hinged on several tight races, two days after Democrats blocked what Republicans expected The “red wave” in the midterm elections.

Edison Research expects Republicans to win at least 210 House seats, eight fewer than the 218 needed to take the House from Democrats and effectively block President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.

While Republicans remain in favor, 33 House races remain undecided — including 21 of the 53 most contested races, according to a Reuters analysis of leading independent forecasters — that could secure the final Results will not be certain for some time.

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

The Senate’s fate is far less certain. Either side could seize control by winning too close to vote in Nevada and Arizona, where officials are counting thousands of uncounted ballots.

The ruling party has historically suffered heavy casualties in the president’s first midterm elections, with results Tuesday suggesting voters are punishing Biden with the worst inflation in 40 years.

But Democrats have been able to avoid the major defeat Republicans expected and have held on in tight races for the Senate in Nevada and Arizona.

Tuesday’s results also showed voters were lashing out at Republican efforts to ban abortion and questioning the state’s vote-counting process.

As hundreds of Republican candidates embrace former President Donald Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election has been stolen, Biden sees the election as a test of American democracy.

A split in the Senate vote would mean the majority will hold a runoff in Georgia for the second time in two years.

Democratic incumbent Rafael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker both failed to reach 50 percent on Tuesday, forcing them to close on Dec. 6.

Even with a narrow majority in the House, Republicans could decide on Biden’s remaining term, blocking priorities such as abortion rights and launching investigations into his administration and family.

Biden, who traveled to Egypt on Thursday for the COP27 UN climate change summit, acknowledged that reality on Wednesday and said he was ready to work with Republicans.

A White House official said Biden spoke by phone with Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy, who announced earlier in the day that he intends to run for House speaker if Republicans control the House.

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

If McCarthy is the next House speaker, he may find it a challenge to unite his unruly caucus with a far right that has 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.

Meanwhile, control of the Senate would give Republicans the power to block Biden’s judicial and executive nominations.

Senate toss

Thousands of ballots remain uncounted in two hotly contested states, Arizona and Nevada. Election officials in Arizona’s most populous Maricopa County said all votes there won’t be counted until at least Friday.

Some “election deniers” — those who backed Trump’s false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen by him — won on Tuesday, but many who sought jobs overseeing the election at the state level were defeated.

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

Trump has played an active role in recruiting Republican candidates, with mixed results.

He was victorious in Ohio, and JD Vance, author of “The Hillbilly Elegy,” won a Senate seat, putting it in Republican hands. But several other Trump-backed candidates have suffered defeats, such as retired celebrity surgeon Mohammad Oz, who lost a key Pennsylvania Senate race to Democrat John Fettman.

Meanwhile, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who could challenge Trump in 2024, won re-election by nearly 20 percentage points, further boosting his 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 Reno, NV; Writing by Joseph Axe and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Tom Hogue and Angus MacSwan

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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