ALPHARETTA, Georgia/PHOENIX, Arizona, Nov 8 (Reuters) – Several Republican senators easily won re-election on Tuesday in the U.S. midterm elections, which could usher in an era of divided government and reduce the power of President Joe Biden in Washington.
With polls closed in six states, early results would not shift the balance of power in the 50-50 Senate, which Democrats currently control with a deciding vote.
Edison Research predicted that Republican incumbents Tim Scott in South Carolina and Todd Young in Indiana would be re-elected. Fox News predicted that Republican Rand Paul would win re-election in Kentucky and Democrat Peter Welch would win an open Senate seat in Vermont.
Thirty five Senate seats and all 435 House of Representatives the seats are on the ballot. Republicans are heavily favored to clinch the five seats they need to control the House, but control of the Senate could come down to close races in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Arizona. Some 36 governor races are also at stake.
The end result probably won’t be known anytime soon.
More than 46 million Americans voted before Election Day, either by mail or in person, according to data from the US Election Project and state election officials. caution that it will take time to count all those ballots. Senate control may not be known until a possible Dec. 6 runoff in Georgia.
Live election results from across the country are here.
Motivated by concerns about high inflation and criminalityvoters were poised to usher in an era of divided government in Washington, despite warnings from Democrats about eroding abortion rights and weakening democratic standards.
An Edison Research exit poll of midterm voters showed inflation and abortion were the top issues on voters’ minds, with three in ten citing one or the other as their main concern.
US officials have said they see no “specific or credible threat” to disrupting election infrastructure. Local officials reported isolated issues across the country: a bomb threat in Louisiana, a paper shortage in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, and a downed website in Champaign County, Illinois. .
In Maricopa County, Arizona – a key battleground – officials said they were fixing faulty tabulators and said every vote would be counted.
This fueled claims by right-wing figures that the failures were deliberate.
“The people won’t stand it!!!” former President Donald Trump wrote on Truth Social, his online platform, without providing evidence of voter fraud.
Experts have reported new conspiracy theories spreading across Twitter days after the company laid off half its staff and new owner Elon Musk endorsed Republicans.
Biden said hundreds of Republican candidates echoed Trump’s false claims that his 2020 loss to Biden was due to widespread fraud.
“They deny that the last election was legitimate,” Biden said on a radio show aimed at black voters. “They’re not sure about accepting the results unless they win.”
Many voters said they were driven by frustration with annual inflation, which at 8.2% is the highest rate in 40 years.
“The economy is terrible. I blame the current administration for that,” said Bethany Hadelman, who said she voted for Republican candidates in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Fears of rising crime have also been a factor in left-leaning regions like New York, where incumbent Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul faced a tough challenge from Republican Lee Zeldin.
“We have criminals who constantly repeat crimes. They go to jail and get out a few hours later or the next day,” said John Delsanto, 35, a paralegal who said he voted for Zeldin.
In Congress, a Republican-controlled House could block bills address democratic priorities such as abortion rights and climate change. Republicans could also launch a confrontation on the nation debt ceilingwhich could rattle financial markets and launch investigations into the Biden administration and family.
Republicans will have the power to block aid to Ukraine if they regain control of Congress, but analysts say they are more likely to slow or reduce the flow of defense and economic aid.
A Republican Senate would dominate on Biden’s judicial appointments, including any Supreme Court vacancy, stepping the spotlight on the increasingly conservative court.
INFLATION AND ABORTION
The June Supreme Court decision to strike down the nation’s abortion law had galvanized Democratic voters across the country, temporarily boosting the party’s hopes of stemming the losses.
But the stubborn rise in prices has left voters unhappy despite one of the strongest labor markets in history.
A Reuters/Ipsos survey this week, only 39% of Americans approved of the way Biden did his job. Some Democratic candidates deliberately walked away from the White House as Biden’s popularity languished.
Trump’s poll is also weak, with just 41% of respondents to a separate recent Reuters/Ipsos poll saying they view him favorably.
Trump, who voted in Florida, has often hinted at a third presidential election. He said on Monday he would make a “big announcement” on November 15.
The prevalence of Holocaust deniers among Republican candidates has elevated bottom races that typically receive little attention.
In swing states like Nevada, Arizona and Michigan, Republican candidates lead the state electoral apparatus have embraced Trump’s liescausing the Democrats to fear that if they win, they will could interfere with the 2024 presidential race.
Those concerns swayed even some Republican voters like Henry Bowden, 36, an Atlanta lawyer who said he voted for a mix of Republican and Democratic candidates.
“I was really trying not to vote for any of the Republicans who are too much into Trump’s pocket and all the election denial stuff. I was very tired of that,” he said.
Reporting by Joseph Axe, Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey and Gram Slattery in Washington, Gabriella Borter in Royal Oak, Michigan, Nathan Layne in Alpharetta, Georgia, Masha Tsvetkova in New York, Tim Reid in Phoenix and Ned Parker in Reno, Nevada; Written by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Scott Malone, Alistair Bell and Howard Goller
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