The majorities in both chambers of Congress are still open. In the Senate, however, it looks like the Democrats may be able to defend their control ahead of the Georgia runoff.
Fourth day after the US midterm elections, the decision on future control in both chambers of Congress is still open. Although this is highly unusual, it is mainly due to the fact that many individual races are extremely close and there will only be a wafer-thin majority in both chambers. That makes every seat crucial.
Numerous results are still missing from the western states, where counting has been taking longer for years. One reason is the increasingly widespread use of voting early or by post. In Arizona, for example, ballot papers cast in this way can only be processed the day after the election, and checking the signatures takes a long time. In California, four years ago, it took more than three weeks for the last seat to be decided. And in Nevada, postal votes can still arrive on Saturday as long as they are postmarked for election day.
A barely controllable majority
The race for the Senate could still be decided at the weekend. After the re-election of Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly was confirmed on Saturday night, the seats in Nevada and Georgia are still open. In Nevada, Republican challenger Adam Laxalt is leading, but by less than a thousand votes. The postal votes that have not yet been counted should make up for this. The election experts of both the platform FiveThirtyEight as well as from Cook Political Report believe it is likely that the Democrats will be able to hold the seat.
That would give the party 50 seats in the small chamber, regardless of Georgia, where a runoff election still has to be awaited in December. She would defend her majority thanks to the casting vote of Senate leader Vice President Kamala Harris. That would be an important achievement because it would allow President Biden to continue confirming nominations, such as those for judgeships.
In the House of Representatives, on the other hand, a Republican majority is still likely. 218 seats are necessary in the large chamber. The party has not yet reached this magic number for sure NBC’s Decision Desk estimates but that in the end it will have 220 mandates.
In doing so, she regained the control she had lost four years ago. Such a wafer-thin majority is difficult to hold together, as the Democrats have seen over the past two years. Their faction leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, undoubtedly has a special skill for this, but it is questionable whether the Republicans will also succeed – especially since a strong Trump wing faces some more moderate MPs.
This comes as a shock to the Conservatives, especially given the favorable conditions for an opposition party with the highest inflation and one of the most unpopular presidents in decades. On a historical average, the party that does not hold the White House wins around 30 seats in Congress, 4 Senate seats and 4 or 5 state governorships in midterms. The Republicans won at best a dozen seats in the House of Representatives, could even lose one in the Senate and have lost two governorships so far.
The wailing of the conservative camp is correspondingly loud, and the culprit was quickly identified: Donald Trump. The former president had helped dozens of candidates get nominated with his endorsement on the condition that he confessed his lie about the stolen victory in 2020. As a result, the party lost crucial seats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, while Republicans with more distance to the former President would certainly have had good chances.
This is shown by the good results of Republican governors such as Brian Kemp in Georgia, Mike DeWine in Ohio and Chris Sununu in New Hampshire. They all did significantly better than the “Trumpists” in the Senate races of the same states.
Only Trump sees himself as the winner
Representative Liz Cheney, who is perhaps Trump’s fiercest opponent in her own ranks and who will have to give up her seat to a loyalist of the former president in January, described this on Thursday as a rejection of hate, spite and Donald Trump. It was a clear victory for “Team Normal” – that’s what those Republicans in the White House under Trump who were trying to bring the President to reason called themselves.
Outgoing Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey, whose seat the party lost to a Trump candidate, also voiced direct criticism of the former president. The connection between “Maga candidates” and high losses is obvious, he said, referring to Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again”. The ex-president interfered in the election campaign and thus harmed the party. His influence will therefore dwindle.
Paul Ryan, once the party’s speaker and hopeful, put it even more clearly, but withdrew four years ago because of Trump’s course. The Republicans would have lost the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House under this. “We have a Trump hangover. He’s a liability,” Ryan said.
It is striking that such tones have so far only been heard from well-known critics or politicians who have resigned. However, it is quite conceivable that others have come to a similar conclusion. Not surprisingly, Trump himself is not one of them. On his new social media channel, he spoke of a great evening and a very big win. He wants to announce his renewed candidacy for the presidency on Tuesday.