The last polling stations in Alaska and Hawaii closed at 6:00 a.m. CET, but it could still be hours before a reliable overall result is available. So far, Democrats control both chambers of Congress. In the House of Representatives, where they have an eight-seat majority, a change of power appeared to be a foregone conclusion.
In the larger parliamentary chamber, all 435 seats are up for re-election. Among other things, the opposition Republicans entered the race with an advantage by changing constituency boundaries. Forecasts predicted a gain of ten to 20 seats, and a landslide victory seemed possible. The Democrats had better chances in the Senate because the Republicans had more seats to defend, including in the states of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which had gone to Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
While in Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman led Republican Mehmet Oz with 49.2 to 48.3 percent, in Wisconsin Republican incumbent Ron Johnson led with 51.6 to 48.4 percent over Democratic challenger Mandela Barnes. In both states, however, democratic strongholds were still to be counted. If the Democrats win in both states, the Republicans would have to win the other three narrow Senate races in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada. 27 of the 35 races were already decided during the night, both parties had 46 seats each.
In Georgia, where the Democrat Raphael Warnock, who was elected in a special election just two years ago, had to defend his seat, it looked like a runoff election, since neither he nor his Republican challenger Hershel Walker were likely to achieve the necessary absolute majority. Partial results showed Walker just ahead of Warnock. In Arizona, Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly was well ahead of Republican challenger Blake Masters with 57.4 to 40.3 percent, while results from Nevada were not yet available.
Above all, the rapidly rising prices for petrol and food, for example, played into the hands of the Republicans. The fact that the US labor market is not as robust as it has been for a long time changes nothing. US President Joe Biden has been at a low in the polls for months, and many voters blame him for the high inflation. Since the midterms, halfway through a president’s term in office, are traditionally often a referendum on his work, many Democratic candidates feared receiving a lesson on Biden’s behalf. However, he had proclaimed the midterm election as a vote for the defense of democracy.
DeSantis prevailed in Florida
In the gubernatorial election in Florida, the nationally known 44-year-old incumbent DeSantis prevailed against his Democratic opponent Charlie Crist. This is considered a good sign for the party, because the votes in the populous state in the southeast of the country are usually much stronger for the Democrats. In two states on the East Coast, the Democrats were able to win back the governorships from the Republicans. In Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey sat down.
DeSantis is said to also want to run for the Republicans as a candidate. The now clear victory in Florida should give him momentum and strengthen his position. In 2018 he only won the governor’s race there by a narrow margin. Florida is considered a so-called “swing state” in which voters sometimes prefer the Republicans and sometimes the Democrats.
Video: Ex-US President Donald Trump is not on the ballot paper for the “Midterms”, but casts his shadow over the election.
Trump threatened DeSantis
Ex-President Trump spoke out several times on election day. He threatened DeSantis with unpleasant revelations if he were to run for the White House in 2024. He could say “things that are not particularly flattering” about DeSantis, he said on US television. Trump had announced a “very big announcement” on Monday for November 15th. It can be assumed that he wants to announce his candidacy in the 2024 presidential election, which has long been hinted at.
In the course of the midterms, several states also voted on the right to abortion. In Vermont, a large majority voted to include abortion rights in the state constitution. In California, Michigan and Kentucky, the results of these votes are pending.
Expiry issues in key Arizona county
In a large district in the US state of Arizona, some polling stations have had problems with voting machines – which could lead to disputes over the results of the general election. According to the authorities, Maricopa County with the cities of Phoenix and Tempe was affected. The machines could not read ballots printed on the spot because the markings were not clear enough for them. The voters could put them in the ballot box.
Republicans, citing the problems, tried to get a court injunction to extend polling hours, but the request was denied. According to US media reports from Arizona, the authorities announced that 90 to 95 percent of the votes should be counted by Friday. Maricopa County was the scene of bitter court battles following the 2020 presidential election with allegations of irregularities, which were ultimately dismissed.
Arizona also plays an important role in the midterm election. If the Democrats defend their Senate seat there, they have a good chance of retaining control of the more important House of Parliament. After counting a good half of the votes, incumbent Mark Kelly was well ahead of his Republican challenger Blake Masters with 58 percent. The governor election is also being followed with particular interest. Republican Keri Lake is the new star of the party’s right-wing camp. According to partial results, however, she was behind Democrat Katie Hobbs.
Several Senate races in states like Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Georgia are extremely close. It could take days — and even a month in Georgia given a runoff rule — for the results to be known. The governors of 36 of the 50 US states were also elected on Tuesday. Since the United States stretches across several time zones, the election is dragging on for a very long time: in large parts of Alaska and Hawaii, the polling stations are open until 6:00 a.m. CET.