Well, if you’re a Democrat, you can breathe a (small) sigh of relief. The Republican “red wave” that many predicted to wash over these midterm elections is turning out to be more of a ripple.
Americans took to the ballot boxes on Tuesday to decide whether Joe Biden's Democrats should keep control of the US Senate, in what’s largely considered an acid test of the president’s first two years in office.
At the heart of this vote is the question of whether Biden should continue to get his way via a Democrat-led Congress, or whether the Republicans should seize control and spend the next two years blocking his every move.
The Senate is currently divided 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Kamala Harris able to cast tie-breaking votes, so Republicans only need to pick up one seat to take the majority. Of it’s 100 seats, 35 are up for grabs, while all 435 seats in the House of Representatives are there for the taking.
And yet, despite Biden’s broad unpopularity in the polls, predictions that his rival party would storm to victory are proving a little overblown.
Voting had closed at the time of writing, but many of the most competitive races remain uncalled, so there’s still much to play for.
Democrats secure a key win
As polls closed across the country, Democrats had largely accepted that they were going to lose control of the House of Representatives but hoped to retain a razor-thin majority in the Senate, with a number of key battlegrounds still too close to call.
The Democrats have been snatching victories in highly competitive districts and, although the Republicans can still nab the five seats they need to win the House, they haven’t dealt their rivals the knock-out blows that many were expecting.
In the fight for the Senate, Democrat John Fetterman has beaten Trump’s favourite celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania. This represents a gain for Fetterman’s party – the seat was previously held by retiring Republican, Pat Toomey – and has shaken the Republicans’ ambitions of taking control of both houses of Congress.
But so do the Republicans
Meanwhile, the big Republican winner overnight was Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who is now in pole position to challenge Donald Trump for the party’s presidential nomination in 2024.
In his victory speech, DeSantis, 44, said he looked forward to “the road ahead” without mentioning Trump, 76, who refers to him as Ron “DeSanctimonious”.
How’s this all looking for Trump?
The results have so far been pretty bruising for the MAGA commander-in-chief. Of all the leading midterm candidates who’d received his endorsement, only JD Vance in Ohio’s senate race has secured a win. Trump-backed candidates for governor in New York, Michigan and, as we’ve previously mentioned, Pennsylvania have all lost.
And whilst it’s still likely the Republicans will take the House, two out of the three Trump-backed candidates vying for Democrat-held Senate seats in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada will now need to win.
It could be days before the results are known, but, as of 8:20am GMT, here’s how the three seats were looking according to FiveThirtyEight:
In Georgia: Democrat Raphael Warnock leads Republican Herschel Walker 49.1 per cent to 48.8 per cent. This race is very likely to require a runoff on December 6.
In Arizona, Democrat Mark Kelly leads Republican Blake Masters 56 percent to 41 per cent. But this race will tighten as more ballots are counted over the coming days.
In Nevada, Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto leads Republican Adam Laxalt 50 percent to 47 per cent, but there’s still everything to play for.
So how are votes looking for the House of Representatives?
At the time of writing (8.45 GMT), Republicans had won 198 seats and Democrats had won 168 seats, with 69 out of the 435 races yet to be called, according to the Associated Press.
And for the Senate?
Republicans were on 47 seats, and the Democrats on 46. Just five seats were yet to be called.
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