Voters cast ballots to decide makeup of US legislature, state and local officials, with results still rolling in.
Hours after polls closed in the US midterms elections, the outcome of consequential segments of Tuesday’s vote, including which party will control the House of Representatives and Senate, were far from clear.
What was clear early on Wednesday was that an expected “red wave” predicted by Republicans did not materialise.
Instead, with 372 of the House’s 435 seats and 95 of the Senates 100 seats called, control of both chambers remained in the balance.
Democrats’ hopes were buoyed by the victory of John Fetterman in Pennsylvania, who defeated Republican challenger Mehmet Oz in the only Senate race so far to flip a seat.
Meanwhile, top House Republican Kevin McCarthy declared it was “clear” his party would take control of the House, despite the outcome remaining unclear.
Here are key takeaways so far:
- Following Fetterman’s victory in Pennsylvania, all eyes have moved to Nevada, Arizona and Georgia, where Democrats are in the closest Senate races with Republicans.
- President Joe Biden’s party would need to win two out of three seats in question in those states to maintain control of the chamber.
- In Georgia, neither Democratic incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock or Republican Challenger Herschel Walker are expected to break the 50 percent threshold needed to win outright.
- The challengers were most likely headed for a run-off race, meaning it could potentially be weeks until control of the chamber is decided.
- When it comes to House races, Democrats have so far fared better than expected against Trump-backed opponents.
- That was particularly clear in Michigan, where Hillary Scholten, an immigration lawyer, beat her Republican challenger John Gibbs. In the primary, Gibbs had defeated Republican Congressman Peter Meijer, one of a handful of Republicans who had voted to impeach former President Donald Trump.
With a big win in Florida’s governor election, Republican Ron DeSantis has boosted his reputation as a rival to Donald Trump when the party picks its nominee for the presidential election in 2024 👇 pic.twitter.com/8d7Qv9SW4W
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) November 9, 2022
- Democratic incumbent governors have so-far fared well in states where Republican-controlled legislatures have sought to pass restrictions on voting in the wake of Trump’s unfounded claims of fraud following his 2020 presidential loss. Democrats in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan all survived Republican challenges.
- Michigan on Tuesday also voted in favour of abortion protections in its state constitution, a possible indicator of sentiment in other swing states where reproductive rights are under threat in the wake of the repeal of Roe v Wade. Vermont and California also shored up state constitutional protections for abortion rights. Meanwhile, the results of a measure that would explicitly say abortion is not a right in Kentucky have not yet been called.
- Incumbent Republicans governors in Texas, Georgia and Florida, meanwhile, weathered challenges from several Democrats with national profiles.
- Maryland and Missouri also became the latest US states to legalise recreational marijuana after voters on Tuesday backed the measure, with similar measures failing in North Dakota and Arkansas.