Democratic Party holds back ‘red wave’ in US midterm polls


In Pennsylvania, Democrat John Fetterman flipped a Republican-controlled Senate seat key to the party. In the evenly split Senate, the battleground was focused on the deeply contested states of Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin

In Pennsylvania, Democrat John Fetterman flipped a Republican-controlled Senate seat key to the party. In the evenly split Senate, the battleground was focused on the deeply contested states of Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin

The Republican Party’s hopes of a “red wave” carrying them to power in the US Congress faded on Wednesday as President Joe Biden’s Democratic Party put up a stronger-than-expected defense in midterm elections headed for a cliffhanger finish.

With a majority of Tuesday’s races called, Republicans seemed on track to reclaim the House of Representatives for the first time since 2018, but the Senate was still in play, with forecasts tentatively leaning Democratic.

Aiming to deliver a rebuke of Mr. Biden’s presidency, against a backdrop of sky-high inflation and bitter culture wars, Republicans needed one extra seat to wrest control of the evenly divided Senate.

But by early Wednesday the only seat to change party hands went to the Democrats, with John Fetterman, a burly champion of progressive economic policies, triumphing in Pennsylvania.

In the House, early results suggested Republicans were on track for a majority — but only by a handful of seats, a far cry from their predictions.

Republicans slogged State by State in a determined fight to break the Democrat one-party hold on Washington, a breathtakingly close battle for control of Congress and the future of President Mr. Biden’s agenda.

On Wednesday, the Democrats faced a new generation of Republican candidates — among them 2020 election deniers and some extremists inspired by Donald Trump handily winning some seats.

But races remained tight, and Republicans ran into stiff competition in their march across the country, dashing hopes for the sweeping gains they had promised, particularly in the House. Instead, they inched towards what could be another narrowly split Congress.

“The RED WAVE did not happen,” defeated Republican Rep. Mayra Flores of Texas said in a tweet.

It was the first major national election since the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, and emotions were raw. The recent violent assault on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband has stunned many, and federal law enforcement warned of heightened threats nationwide. mr. Biden’s party worked to hold on by the most tenuous of margins.

Even with a slim majority, the Republicans could bring a new intensity to Capitol Hill with promises to end Mr. Biden’s most ambitious plans, tighten congressional oversight and launch grueling investigations — even, potentially, impeachment of the President.

House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, in line to become speaker if his party takes control, vowed to win the majority as he addressed a crowd of supporters well past midnight in Washington.

“We are expanding this party,” Mr. McCarthy said, calling out the races won so far. “The American people are ready for a majority that will offer a new direction that will put America back on track.”

But the mood among Republicans was tense, as Democrats delivered a surprising run of the map in places Republicans expected to claim as their own.

“While many races remain too close to call, it is clear that House Democratic members and candidates are strongly outperforming expectations,” Ms. Pelosi said in a statement. “As states continue to tabulate the final results, every vote must be counted as cast.”

All 435 seats in the House and one-third of the Senate were being decided. If Republican newcomers help the party seize control of the House, and possibly the Senate, the outcome will pose new challenges for Congress’ ability to govern — especially if margins are tight.

In the race for the House, battleground Virginia provided a snapshot. Republican state Sen. Jen Kiggans, a former Navy helicopter pilot, defeated Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, a former Navy commander who had touted her work on the House committee investigating the January 6 insurrection.

watch | All you need to know about the US midterm elections

But elsewhere, Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger prevailed over Trump-backed Yesli Vega in a suburban Virginia district Republicans hoped to flip. And Democrats held House seats in Rhode Island, Ohio, Kansas and New Hampshire that Republicans wanted, and they flipped some including a suburban Illinois district from Republicans.

Still, Republicans were slowly amassing some of the five seats needed to reach a 218-seat House majority.

They picked up a Nashville, Tennessee-area seat long held by Democrats. And in a dramatic example of the difficult political environment for Democrats, the party’s House campaign chairman Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney was fighting for political survival against Republican state legislator Mike Lawler in New York’s Hudson Valley. He would be the first Democratic campaign chief to suffer defeat in two decades.

The Senate races remain in flux. Republican JD Vance, a venture capitalist and author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” defeated Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan in Ohio, denying Democrats a chance to pick up the open seat. In New Hampshire, Trump-styled Republican Don Bolduc failed to oust Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan.

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Half of voters said inflation factored significantly, with groceries, gasoline, housing, food and other costs that have shot up in the past year. Slightly fewer — 44% — said the future of democracy was their primary consideration.

Overall, 7 in 10 voters said the ruling overturned the 1973 decision enshrining abortion rights was an important factor in their midterm decisions.

VoteCast also shows the reversal was broadly unpopular. About 6 in 10 say they are angry or dissatisfied by it, while about 4 in 10 were pleased. And roughly 6 in 10 say they favor a law guaranteeing access to legal abortion nationwide.

There were no widespread problems with ballots or voter intimidation reported around the country, although there were hiccups typical of most Election Days.

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Voters also were deciding high-profile races for Senate or governor in places such as Pennsylvania, Nevada, Wisconsin, Arizona and Michigan. Contests were also on the ballot for secretaries of state, roles that typically generate little attention but have come under growing scrutiny as GOP contenders who refused to accept the results of the 2020 campaign were running to control the management of future elections.

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Divided government has historically offered the possibility of bipartisan deal-making. But Republican candidates campaigned instead on a platform to stop Democrats. They promised to cut federal spending, refuse to raise the nation’s debt limit and balk at supporting Ukraine in the war with Russia. It all pointed to potential gridlock.

mr. McCarthy had recruited the most racially diverse class of House GOP candidates, with more women than ever. But it also included a new cadre of Trump loyalists, including election skeptics and deniers, some of whom were around the Capitol on January 6.

mr. Trump endorsed hundreds of candidates nationwide in this election cycle, although they were not always the first choices of McCarthy and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell. In an interview, the former President said he backed McCarthy for speaker, and he derided his old foe Mr. McConnell as a “lousy leader,” according to Fox News Channel.

In a sign of the nation’s toxic political climate, Ms. Pelosi canceled most public appearances in the final week of campaigning after an intruder broke into her family’s San Francisco home in the middle of the night last month, demanding to know “Where is Nancy?” and bludgeoning her 82-year-old husband in the head with a hammer.

In the House, several new Republicans were elected in redrawn Florida districts. Joining them will be 25-year-old Democrat Maxwell Frost, the first member of Generation Z to win a seat in Congress.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, was reelected in New York. Republican Senators Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida prevailed over their Democratic opponents. In Colorado, Democratic Senator Michael Bennet also won reelection.

Vote counting could extend beyond Election Day in many states, and Georgia could head to a December 6 runoff if no candidate reaches the majority.

Democrats gained momentum over the abortion issue after the Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade decided this summer, and they have been warning voters about MAGA conservatives, short for Mr. Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan.

But Republicans focused voter attention on closer-to-home issues such as inflation-fueled high prices and crime.



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