Control of U.S. Congress at stake as Arizona, Nevada labor to count ballots

PHOENIX, Nov 10 (Reuters) – Two days after Americans went to the polls, the world of politics continued on Thursday, with both seats of the US Congress expected to be up for election as election officials found hundreds of thousands of votes on the way. it may take days to resolve.

Republicans have won 211 seats in the House of Representatives, Edison Research says, just seven shy of the 218 seats needed to unseat Democrats and end the aspirations of President Joe Biden.

But 30 races have yet to be confirmed, including 19 of the top contenders based on a Reuters poll of neutral forecasters.

The Senate race, meanwhile, has three very competitive states. Either party could win a majority by sweeping the races in Nevada and Arizona, where counting of late ballots is expected to last several days.

If the races don’t give either party a majority, control of the Senate will be decided in a runoff election in Georgia for the second time in two years. Democrat Raphael Warnock and Republican Herschel Walker will go head-to-head on Dec. 6 after both fell short on Tuesday of the 50% mark needed to win outright.

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(Results of the ongoing elections in the country are in)

Even as Republicans cheered to take the House, Tuesday’s move seemed more difficult. Some Republicans criticized former President Donald Trump after some of his supporters, including prominent Pennsylvania physician Mehmet Oz, lost top races.

The decline in Trump’s popularity could also encourage Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to challenge the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, after he won re-election by a landslide on Tuesday.

In his speech on Thursday, Trump took aim at his potential opponent, calling him “Ron DeSanctimonious” for the second time in recent days and bragging about his political ascension. The former president is expected to announce his third term in the White House next Tuesday, although the mercurial Trump could still change.

Even a smaller House would allow Republicans to block Biden’s priorities and launch an investigation into his administration, setting the stage for a fight against pressure issues like raising the federal budget.

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Senate Republicans will be responsible for Biden’s judicial position, including any Supreme Court opportunities.

TOTAL VOTES COUNTING

After the votes were counted, Democrats expressed cautious optimism in the Nevada and Arizona Senate races.

In Nevada, Republican challenger Adam Laxalt, the state’s top attorney, has clung to a lead of less than 2 percent, but his lead over Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto has narrowed as votes in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, are counted.

Arizona showed a mirror image: Democrat Mark Kelly saw his margin over Republican challenger Blake Masters narrow as of Tuesday, even though he led by more than 5 percentage points.

Bill Gates, chairman of the board of supervisors in Maricopa County, Arizona’s most populous county and home to Phoenix, said Thursday that counting the more than 400,000 ballots could take until next week.

Republican Kari Lake, who has denounced Trump’s voter fraud claims and whose race against Democrat Katie Hobbs is still too close to call, criticized Maricopa officials for deliberately dragging their feet, which Gates called “disappointing.”

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“Everybody needs to calm down a little bit and tone it down,” said Gates, a Republican.

Despite widespread voter frustration over inflation and Biden’s endorsement, Democrats avoided the loss the incumbent party suffered in the first midterm election.

The move was sparked by outrage over the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down abortion rights nationwide, prompting Republicans to ban abortions in more than a dozen states.

“The women of America have made their voices heard, men,” Biden said at a political event in Washington.

The president has recast the election as a test of US democracy at a time when hundreds of Republicans have accepted Trump’s false claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged.

Tim Reid reports in Phoenix and Joseph Ax, Jason Lange, Trevor Hunnicutt, Andy Sullivan, Makini Brice, Eric Beech, Susan Heavey, Richard Cowan, Steve Holland, Jeff Mason and Doina Chiacu in Washington; By Jeff Mason and Joseph Ax; Edited by Ross Colvin, Rosalba O’Brien and Leslie Adler

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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