U.S. House control hinges on tight races after Democrats take Senate

  • Republicans are ahead in a tight race for the House
  • Democrats looked to Georgia after taking the Senate

WASHINGTON, Nov 14 (Reuters) – Control of the U.S. House of Representatives hung on Monday in several tight races that could secure a majority for Republicans following midterm elections that saw President Joe Biden’s Democrats lose the expect and maintain the Senate.

Republicans are closer to taking the House, winning 211 seats compared to Democrats’ 206, with 218 needed for a majority. But the final result may not be known for several days as officials continue to count ballots nearly a week after Americans went to the polls.

After sweeping the Senate over the weekend and dashing Republican hopes for a “red wave” of victories, Democrats portrayed their performance as a vindication of their agenda and a rebuke to Republican efforts to undermine the validity of the election results.

Other high-profile uncalled races include the Arizona governor contest, where Republican Kari Lake, who promoted baseless claims of fraud in the 2020 election by former President Donald Trump, is trailing her Democratic opponent.

There are still 18 outstanding House races, including 13 considered closely competitive, according to a Reuters compilation of top nonpartisan forecasters. Ten of the remaining contests are in liberal-leaning California.

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A Republican victory in the House would set the stage for two years of divided government while giving Biden’s opponents the power to limit his political agenda and launch potentially damaging investigations into his administration and family.

Jim Banks, a Republican congressman from Indiana, said he expected his party to win a slim majority in the 435-seat chamber and serve as the “last line of defense to block the Biden agenda,” while launching investigations. with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, the source of the COVID and pandemic lockdown.

“That should be a focal point of every single committee in Congress, especially in the House under Republican control,” Banks told Fox News on Sunday.

The Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said Sunday that she would not make any announcement about whether she plans to remain in the leadership until after control of the chamber is decided.

There had been speculation that Pelosi would resign if the Democrats lost their majority, especially after her husband was attacked by an intruder in their San Francisco home last month.

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“It’s very close,” Pelosi, 82, told ABC News on Sunday of the House race. “We don’t give up.”

GEORGIA RUN-OFF, ARIZONA GOVERNOR RACE

Democrats, who gained control of the Senate with Nevada Senator Catherine Cortez Masto’s win on Saturday, have shifted focus to a run-off contest in Georgia that could strengthen their hand in Congress.

A Democratic victory in the Dec. 6 run-off between Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker would give the party outright control of the majority, strengthening its power over committees, bills, and the judiciary that choice.

The win in Nevada put Democrats in control of a 50-50 Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris holding the tie-breaking vote.

Although Republicans won a narrow majority in the House, the Democrats’ performance suggests they had success in portraying their opponents as extremists, pointing in part to the Supreme Court’s decision to remove a national abortion rights following conservative court appointments.

But the results also led to increased scrutiny of Trump, who has used his popularity among hard-right conservatives to influence candidates nominated by Republicans for congressional, gubernatorial and local races.

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The Republican’s loss in Georgia could further dent Trump’s popularity as advisers say he is considering announcing this week a third run for the presidency in 2024. He has been blamed for boosting candidates who cannot appeal to a wide audience.

One candidate Trump has strongly supported is Kari Lake, who trails Democrat Katie Hobbs in the Arizona governor’s race by 1.1 percentage points with an estimated 93% of the votes counted, according to Edison Research.

The election results appear to have drawn scrutiny from top Republican lawmakers. Lindsey Graham, a veteran Republican senator, said the planned Senate Republican leadership election should be postponed until after the Georgia race.

“All Republicans should be focused on winning Georgia and trying to understand the midterm elections before the Senate leadership election or move on to the 2024 presidential race,” Graham wrote on Twitter.

Writing by Rami Ayyub; editing by Lincoln Feast and Toby Chopra

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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