The control of Congress next term will be divided between Republicans and Democrats after the most expensive US midterm elections in history.
Multiple US media outlets projected on Wednesday evening Republicans to take control of the House of Representatives for the first time in four years. Republicans have won 218 seats out of all 435 House races, reaching the majority threshold, versus 208 for Democrats, while nine elections are still too close to call, according to CNN projections.
NBC News, CBS News and Fox News have also called the fight to be a House majority in favour of Republicans. Democrats, meanwhile, will retain control of the US Senate with at least 50 seats in the 100-member chamber and 49 others for Republicans despite Georgia’s race headed to a runoff next month.
The Senate is currently divided 50-50, with Vice President, Kamala Harris, able to cast the tie-breaking vote in favour of Democrats. US President Joe Biden issued a statement on Wednesday evening in response to the new balance of power on Capitol Hill.
“In this election, voters spoke clearly about their concerns,” President Biden said while urging the two parties not to be “trapped in political warfare.” An exit poll released by NBC News last week showed that most 2022 voters said they were dissatisfied or angry about how things were going in the United States.
The voters also named inflation as the most important issue in deciding how they cast their ballots, followed by abortion, crime, gun policy and immigration.
“The election results are still being microscopically analysed by both parties to discern the messages from voters, which could inform how party leaders proceed over the next two years with a presidential contest on the horizon,” The New York Times wrote in a new analysis.
“But one thing is already clear: With an almost nonexistent majority in the House, Republicans are in for a rough ride, and it will be a challenge to get even the most basic work of Congress done,” the analysis issued on Wednesday underlined.
Senate Republicans on Wednesday re-elected Mitch McConnell, 80, as their leader as Congress returned for a lame-duck session.