The partial tally of the midterm elections in the United States shows a Republican advantage - albeit minimal - in the House of Representatives (the entire House is being renewed) and still leaves the make-up of the Senate (one third of its members will be elected) up in the air, where until now the Democratic and Republican seats were divided 50-50 (the casting vote corresponded to the Speaker of the House, Vice-President Kamala Harris). The State of Georgia will hold a runoff for the seat being contested by incumbent Democrat Raphael Warnock and former NFL star Herschel Walker, a Trump-endorsed Republican. Wisconsin has remained in Republican hands, while the race remains unresolved in Arizona and Nevada, where counting progresses slowly. On the other hand, among the undisputed winners of the night was Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who won re-election (gubernatorial elections have been held in 36 states), thus consolidating his aspirations for the presidency in 2024.
During the day there were disputes about the procedure and the counting of votes. Machines have broken down in different counties in Texas and Arizona and the procedure has been challenged in Pennsylvania. Former President Donald Trump has again raised doubts about the cleanliness of the process. Voters also weighed-in in state referendums. Abortion has been one of the top issues for voters. Kentucky, where Republicans dominate both houses, on Wednesday became the fourth of five states (along with Michigan, California and Vermont) to protect women’s rights on Election Day.
Numerous statewide and local public offices were up for election as well, including the governorships of 36 states. There were also 132 ballot measures in 37 states on issues ranging from abortion to marijuana legalization for recreational use, compulsory unionization, voting rights, forced labor or semi-slavery for prisoners, legalized sports betting and minimum wages for food servers.
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Projections point to a very slim Republican majority in the House of Representatives
The counting continues to move very slowly in the tightest House districts. The majority is set at 218 seats and Republicans are already assured 207 seats, according to the Associated Press. Thirty-nine seats remain to be defined and nothing is locked in yet, but US media projections continue to point to a GOP majority. CNN tentatively projects a likely outcome of 220 seats for the Republicans and 215 for the Democrats, taking into account which party is ahead.
The margin, of only three seats, calls for extreme caution. There are some districts in which the trend seems to be well established and the Republican margin in the tally is sufficiently wide, but there are others where there are still many ballots to be processed and the difference is small. According to the TV channel's experts, it is still possible for the Democrats to win, but more likely for the Republicans to do so.
Democrats have suffered significant losses in New York State, where Republicans have taken four districts that may ultimately prove decisive. Although Governor Kathy Hochul has been re-elected, the Democrats have suffered a loss that may prove to be more serious.
For the Senate, now that it is known that Georgia will go to a runoff on December 6, all eyes are on Nevada and Arizona, the only two states where the battle is still open. Canvassing is slow and may still take several days. If one party wins in both states, it will take control of the Senate, but for now the Republicans appear ahead in Nevada and the Democrats in Arizona. If each party secures a Senator, it will all depend on Georgia's dramatic runoff.
In the image, from AFP, poll workers in Arizona.
Democrats stymie Trump’s bid for triumphant comeback
The midterm election has shown that if Trump and his supporters thought he would enjoy a triumphant return to the White House in 2024, they had better think again. Most of the candidates Trump supported in the primaries were defeated. Lee Zeldin in New York, Doug Mastriano, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania, Don Bolduc in New Hampshire crashed out as voters opted for less extreme and more experienced politicians. All four are election deniers who believe, like Trump, in the false claims of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election.
Read the full article by Iker Seisdedos and Miguel Jiménez.
Photo: Former president Donald Trump with guests at Mar-a-Lago on Election Day. AP
Why does the recount take so long in the West?
The tension of Election Day has been focused on Nevada and Arizona. With Georgia out of the equation, winning both seats is critical to controlling the Upper House. The recount, however, is agonizing. And no clear outcome is expected in the all-important races on Wednesday.
In Nevada, for example, the official in charge of counting the votes in Clark County (Las Vegas, the most populous) has explained that they are processing all the packages that arrived by mail on Monday, which add up to about 14,000 more envelopes. And this does not count the ballots that were deposited in the mail this Tuesday during Election Day, which are also legal. "It's a considerable amount," Joe Gloria assured this Wednesday. The official has informed that there will be an update tonight, but that it will be "minimal".
These votes could be definitive for the Senate race. Currently, Republican Adam Laxalt, supported by Donald Trump, is ahead with a lead of 22,000 votes against Catherine Cortez Masto, the Democrat who is fighting to stay in the Upper House. Only 66% of the ballots have been counted in a state with 3.2 million inhabitants.
In Washoe County, in the same state, the elections manager stated that they have received 4,000 ballots by courier service. "It's definitely a lot more than we expected today," he said. Unlike Clark County, Washoe is a Republican stronghold where Laxalt has a better chance of extending his lead of less than two percentage points.
In Arizona, the picture is similar. Democrats Mark Kelly and Katie Hobbs have seen their leads shrink as the hours have passed in the Senate and local government battles, respectively. Thirty-three percent of the votes remain to be counted. In Pinal County alone, 26,000 ballots remain to be processed, 9,000 in Yuma and 12,000 in Cochise. Local law gives until November 28 to close the counting process.
Trump redirects his attacks on DeSantis
The former president has launched a message to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, in which he claims that in the 2020 presidential election he got a greater number of votes than the governor has achieved in his re-election ballot.
"Now that the Florida election is over, and everything went well, it should be remembered that in 2020 I got 1.1 million more votes than Ron DeSantis this year," the former Republican president wrote on his Truth Social account.
DeSantis' win positions him as a serious contender for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Trump, however, has scorned the Florida governor's interest in the presidential race.
President Joe Biden has even joked about the possibility of Trump and DeSantis facing off in his party's primary. "It's going to be a lot of fun to watch those two go head-to-head," he has said.
The ‘red wave’ that wasn’t, and other key takeaways from the US midterm elections
Democrats and Republicans have tested their strength after two years of the Joe Biden administration. Americans went to the polls on Tuesday to renew all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 seats in the Senate. Midterm legislative elections generally translate into bad news for the occupant of the White House, whose party tends to get punished. Bill Clinton lost 54 congressmembers in 1994. In 2010, Barack Obama saw his party’s representation shrink by 63 seats. The same thing has happened to Republicans, who lost 40 seats in 2018, when the Trump administration turned two years old. This time, however, Biden seems to have been spared the worst, as it was widely believed that a red wave was going to sweep away a weak president with low approval ratings. The conservatives are now in a good position to control the House of Representatives, but the fight for the Senate seems far from over.
Along with the major battle for control of Congress, abortion was a priority issue in five states, John Fetterman defeated Mehmet Oz for a Senate seat and Florida governor Ron DeSantis secured a resounding victory.
Read the full article by Luis Pablo Beauregard to see some more keys takeaways from the election.
Biden on his re-election: "It will be a family decision"
The U.S. president says he is in no rush to announce his 2024 re-election bid. Although Biden has previously expressed his desire to launch a second campaign for the presidency, he assured the conference that it is "a family decision."
Biden mentions that his decision will not depend on the actions of former President Donald Trump, who is expected to launch his presidential bid next week. The president says he will talk to his wife during the Christmas break and at the beginning of next year he will make an announcement.
Biden: "I am ready to work with the Republicans"
The US President affirms that he is ready to negotiate with the Republicans to advance the agenda for the next two years, following the results of the mid-term elections. The distribution of the House of Representatives and the Senate is not yet defined, although everything points to the Lower House being in the hands of the Republicans. "I am prepared to work with my Republican colleagues," Biden said at a press conference from the White House.
Biden described Tuesday's elections as "a good day for democracy" and stressed that despite forecasts that the Republican Party was going to sweep with a "red wave", the prediction did not come true.
Photo: US President Joe Biden during his press conference. Bloomberg
President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak in a few minutes (16.00 local time) about the results of the midterm elections. The president has already been seen on Wednesday making calls to the winning Democratic candidates in several state races. Biden's press conference comes as control of the House of Representatives and the Senate remains inconclusive. So far, the breakdown in both chambers is as follows:
House of Representatives
Democrats 176 - Republicans 206
Democrats 48 - Republicans 49
Biden's appearance can be viewed here:
Who will lead the House?
The Republicans are approaching the magic number: 218. This is the number of seats needed to control the House of Representatives, which is currently held by the Democrats. The Democrats have suffered significant defeats in districts where they used to govern. In New York, for example, eight seats were taken from the progressives candidates. As the recount continues, congressmen are beginning to raise their hands to become the leader of what would be a Republican majority in the Lower House.
For the moment, it is Kevin McCarthy who holds the upper hand in the internal struggle, which must be settled between the congressmen and the leadership of his party. Donald Trump already expressed on Tuesday that he supports McCarthy, but the results of the elections leave Trump's strength shaken. This Wednesday, however, another congressman has asked to be included in the process. Steve Scalise has begun looking for votes in support of him. The Louisiana congressman has served for the past eight years as whip, in charge of ordering and facilitating internal processes in the Legislature. "Americans deserve a House of Representatives that can move the conservative agenda that was promised to them on the campaign trail," Scalise said in a letter. The fight must await confirmation of who gets to keep Congress.
Photo: Current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. AFP
Runoff in Georgia
It's official. Our colleague, Macarena Vidal, who is in Atlanta, Georgia, following one of the closest Senate races, reports that there will be a runoff in December between Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker, a former NFL star.
Vidal explains: "Neither has obtained the minimum 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff. We will have to wait until December 6 to know the winner, which depending on what happens in the Arizona and Nevada recounts may prove key in determining which party will control the Senate for the next two years.
"With 99% of the votes counted, Rev. Warnock has taken 49.4% of the vote, or 1.94 million votes. Walker has won 48.5% of the vote, or 1.90 million votes. The remaining 2%, 81,173 votes, went to a third candidate, Libertarian Chase Oliver, who will be eliminated for the runoff. The number of votes still to be counted is not enough for any to reach the coveted 50% plus one threshold."
In the 2020 presidential election, the Senate race also went to a runoff, which was decided in January 2021. The Democrats won the coveted seat, which gave them 50 seats in the upper house, the same number as the Republicans. Vice President Kamala Harris, however, has the tie-breaking vote. After the news from Georgia, attention has now turned to the Senate races in Arizona and Nevada.
Setback for the Democrats in New York
Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney, the Democrats' top campaign manager, has been defeated by Republican Mike Lawler, albeit by a narrow margin. Maloney, who is one of the highest profile Democrats, was running for a new district, corresponding to the court-ordered redrawing of the state's electoral map, which, according to the first results, will favor the Republicans. Lawler's victory is a blow to House Democrats, as he plays a prominent role in the party. The Democrats, however, have secured all the important seats in contention in New York, including the governorship and the state attorney general's office, which were won by Kathy Hochul and Letitia James, respectively.
Republicans hold on to Senate seat in Wisconsin
NBC and CNN are projecting that Senator Ron Johnson will hold on to his seat in Wisconsin, one of four states along with Georgia, Nevada and Arizona where the outcome will decide which party gains control of the upper chamber. It would be the third consecutive election victory for Johnson, 67, although his Democratic rival Mandela Barnes is close behind with a difference of fewer than 30,000 votes and 95% of votes counted.
Johnson has criticized the fact that he has not yet been declared the winner by most media outlets.
Georgia holds the keys to US Congress again
Georgia has lived up to its reputation and history as a swing state split almost exactly evenly between Democrats and Republicans. Republican Governor Brian Kemp has successfully seen off a second challenge in four years from Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams but in the most important battle between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican candidate and former NFL star Herschel Walker, the result remains in the balance despite the fact that over 95% of votes had been counted by early Wednesday morning.
Read the full story by Macarena Vidal Liy.
Democratic supporters react as candidate for governor in Georgia, Stacey Abrams, concedes defeat in this photo by Dustin Chambers (Bloomberg)
Kentucky affirms abortion rights, joining Michigan, Vermont and California
Kentucky on Wednesday became the fourth state to affirm abortion rights out of five that had the issue on the ballot, Iker Seisdedos reports. Voters were asked to weigh in on a ballot question that asked if they supported amending the state constitution to add the following statement: “To protect human life, nothing in this Constitution shall be construed to secure or protect a right to abortion or require the funding of abortion.”Voters in Michigan, Vermont and California also moved to protect abortion rights in the wake of the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade. The outcome of the vote in Montana is still too early to call.
Photo by AFP
What has happened in the last few hours?
Republicans gained ground in the House of Representatives. Around 197 of the chamber's 435 seats seem to be going to Republicans and 172 to Democrats, with 66 seats still hanging in the balance.
The 35 seats up for grabs in the Senate (out of 100) are being disputed vote for vote. The final count could take hours and even days in some states, but for now it looks like a tie with 48 seats for each of the two parties. Control of the upper chamber rests with four states.
Voters in Michigan, California and Vermont supported abortion rights, which were on the ballot in those states. Abortion rights were a key issue in the midterms in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June decision overturning Roe v. Wade.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis achieved a clear victory, thus becoming a potential competitor to Donald Trump within the Republican Party.
In this photo by Etienne Laurent for Efe, Republican supporters waited for election results in Scottsdale, Arizona, on Wednesday.
Republicans gaining the upper hand in House race
The race for the 435 available seats in the House of Representatives is proving to be even more open and inconclusive than the battle for control of the Senate. US media and electoral analysis websites are posting differing figures for races that are yet to be decided, which could still swing either toward the Democratic or Republican side and redraw the majorities. As things stand, 197 members of Congress in the lower House would be Republican, to 172 Democrats. There are still 66 seats to be decided.
Before the 2022 midterms, the split in the lower chamber was 220 Democrats to 212 Republicans. A majority in the House of Representatives is achieved when a party gains 218 seats and according to the majority of forecasts the Republicans are expected to reach that total when the count in districts still to be decided has been completed. If those predictions are proven to be correct, the current House Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, will once again become the House Majority Leader, a position he previously held from 2014 to 2019.
“When they wake up tomorrow, we will be in the majority and [current House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi will be in the minority,” McCarthy, a California congressman, said early on Wednesday. However, the projected Republican victory will not be as crushing as some observers - including McCarthy himself, who said his party would win 60 new seats in the House - had predicted ahead of the midterms. “Democratic House members and candidates are far exceeding expectations across the country,” Pelosi noted.
Senate race too close to call
The composition of the upper house is being decided by a dozen contests whose outcomes are crucial to break the 50-50 tie between Democrats and Republicans
The race is especially tight in four states: Georgia, Arizona, Nevada and Wisconsin. Alaska, with less than 70% of the vote counted, is leaning Republican, with a lead of more than 30 points.
The New York Times and The Washington Post are forecasting a win for the Democrats in Georgia and a win for the Republicans in Wisconsin. In Georgia, however, if the Republican candidate does not win more than 50% of the vote, a runoff must be held.
The Senate race is even closer in Arizona, where the Democrats have an advantage, and in Nevada, where the Republicans are ahead by more than two points. In the latter state, however, The Washington Post is forecasting a win for the Democrats once all votes are counted. The Republicans need to win just one Democrat seat in the Senate to take control of the upper house.
Voters back abortion rights in Michigan, California and Vermont
Voters in at least three states approved ballot measures in favor of abortion rights on Tuesday.
In the Democrat strongholds of California and Vermont, as well as the battleground state of Michigan, voters enshrined abortion rights in the state constitution.
The proposed amendments come five months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark ruling that established the constitutional right to abortion in 1973. In overturning that ruling, the Supreme Court gave states back the power to establish their own abortion laws.
Meantime, voters in deeply conservative Kentucky looked poised to reject a constitutional amendment that would have declared there was no right to abortion, just as Kansas voters had done in August. With 95% of the ballots counted, the "no" vote was narrowly ahead of the "yes" vote.
In Montana, voters were presented with a controversial amendment that would establish that any infant born alive, including infants born alive as a result of abortion, must have its life preserved by medical staff. Under the measure, doctors who fail to care for such babies will be fined up to $50,000 and/or face prison terms of up to 20 years.
The ‘red wave’ that wasn’t, and other key takeaways from the US midterm elections
The Republicans have made gains, but not as many as were expected. By early Wednesday morning, Republicans had snatched seven seats from their opponents in the House of Representatives, which has been controlled by the Democrats since 2019. The magic number to gain control of the chamber is 218, and both parties were still far from this number.
In the Senate, the Democrats also won one of the most coveted battles at midnight. It was in Pennsylvania, where John Fetterman, who survived a stroke in May, narrowly defeated Republican celebrity doctor Mehmet Oz.
As expected, abortion rights were on the minds of voters in the first post-Roe v. Wade race. Democrats mobilized many voters on this issue, which was present on ballot measures in five states.