Two days after Democrats thwarted a Republican “red wave” in midterm elections, Republicans were edging closer to securing a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives early on Thursday, while control of the Senate remained in doubt.
Edison Research estimated that Republicans had won at least 210 House seats, falling eight short of the 218 required to seize control of the House from Democrats and essentially halt President Joe Biden’s legislative agenda.
Republicans are still expected to win, but with 33 House races still up for grabs, including 21 of the 53 most competitive races, according to a survey of the leading nonpartisan forecasters, it is probable that the results won’t be known for some time.
The Senate’s fate was much less certain. Both parties have a chance to take over by winning races that are too close to call in Nevada and Arizona, where officials are methodically reviewing thousands of uncounted ballots.
In the event of a split, Georgia would once again hold a runoff election to determine the Senate majority. Both Republican candidate Herschel Walker and Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock fell short of the required 50% on Tuesday, pushing them into a one-on-one battle on December 6.
Republicans would be able to influence the rest of Biden’s tenure even with a weak House majority by obstructing initiatives like abortion rights and launching investigations into his family and administration.
On Wednesday, Biden stated that he was ready to work with Republicans and acknowledged that reality. According to a White House official, Biden spoke on the phone with Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader in the House, who said earlier in the day that he would run for speaker of the House if the republicans took control of the chamber.
At a White House press conference, Biden stated, “I think the American people have made clear that they expect Republicans to be willing to work with me as well.
If McCarthy is chosen as the next House speaker, he might have difficulty keeping his fractious caucus together because of the hard-right wing’s lack of interest in compromise.
A battle between Republicans and Democrats over raising the country’s borrowing limit is expected for next year, and it might spook the financial markets.
Republicans would have the power to stop Biden’s nominations for judicial and administrative positions if they were to control the Senate.