Key victory for Biden as Democrats retain Senate in US midterm polls
Defying predictions of a Republican win over both houses of the US Congress, President Joe Biden’s Democrats have retained control of the Senate in the midterm elections.
Midterms have a history of delivering a rejection of the party in power. Especially in view of recent events, with growing inflation and Biden’s waning popularity, Republicans were expecting to ride a mighty “red wave” and capture the Senate and the House of Representatives.
However, the “wave” seems to have been a mere ripple, as US networks on Saturday called the key Senate race in Nevada for Democrat incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto, giving the party the 50 seats it needs for majority.
If the upper chamber is evenly split 50-50, Vice-President Kamala Harris can cast the tie-breaking vote. Thus, the win clinches Democrat control over the Senate.
“Coming in stronger,” says Biden
Reacting to the win, Biden said he was pleased with the turnout and added that the Republicans would now need to decide “who they are.”
“I know I’m coming in stronger,” Biden said in Phnom Penh on the eve of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Indonesia. “I feel good and I’m looking forward to the next couple years,” he added.
Biden said his focus was now on the Georgia Senate race, the only one that remains undecided. It’s set for a December contest in Georgia.
In Arizona, the two parties had been neck-and-neck at 49 seats each on Friday evening. Democrat Mark Kelly is projected to win this tight Senate race. The former astronaut beat challenger Blake Masters, who has not yet accepted defeat.
The House of Representatives result is also pending. While Republicans are predicted to take control, it would be with a much smaller majority than they had imagined going into Tuesday’s election.
Trump calls Democrat win a “scam”
In Arizona, Kelly called for unity in a victory speech on Saturday. “After a long election, it can be tempting to remain focused on the things that divide us,” he said.
“But we’ve seen the consequences that come when leaders refuse to accept the truth and focus more on conspiracies of the past than solving the challenges that we face today,” Kelly added.
Masters was backed by former president Donald Trump. After the Arizona result, he harped on unfounded claims of ballot rigging, posting on his Truth Social platform that the Democrat’s win was a “scam” and the result of “voter fraud.”
Trump is scheduled to declare his 2024 White House bid on Tuesday. However, the disappointing outcome has sparked a bout of internal blame game, with fingers being pointed at Trump, the party leaders, and the campaign messaging.
Republican seek delayed party polls
The US media on Saturday reported that three Republican senators are circulating a letter calling for the postponement of party leadership election. It is scheduled for the middle of next week.
“We are all disappointed that a Red Wave failed to materialize, and there are multiple reasons it did not,” the letter read. “We need to have serious discussions within our conference as to why and what we can do to improve our chances in 2024,” it added.
The Congressional committee investigating the US Capitol attack by Trump’s supporters on January 6, 2021, have issued a subpoena seeking to have Trump questioned under oath next week. However, Trump’s lawyers challenged it on Friday, arguing that as a former president, he enjoys “absolute immunity” from testifying before Congress.
(With agency inputs)