US midterm elections: Winners, losers so far

Hours after the first polls closed, many key races in the US midterms have yet to be called and control of the US Senate, in particular, is still very much up for grabs, BBC reports.

It has been a good enough night for Republicans, but far from a great one. Their hopes of a tidal wave that would sweep them to victory in dozens of toss-up races are not materialising so far.

They have already lost one Senate seat, in Pennsylvania, and will need to flip two among the three states of Nevada, Arizona and Georgia, to take control of that chamber.

Here are some key takeaways so far.

1.Republicans on track to win the House
Even with Democrats winning some close races, it appears Republicans are on track for a majority in the House of Representatives. The question, however, is how big a majority it will be.

  1. Florida re-elects Republican Ron DeSantis
    Four years ago, Ron DeSantis won the governorship of Florida by a fraction of a percent over Democrat Andrew Gillum. After four years of his conservative leadership, where he leaned into hot-button cultural issues like transgender rights and “critical race theory”, railed against coronavirus pandemic restrictions, and became a fixture on conservative news outlets, he has won re-election by a comfortable margin.

How he did it is particularly remarkable.In 2018, he lost the Democratic stronghold of Miami-Dade county by 20%. This year, he is on track to be the first Republican governor candidate to win in the majority-Hispanic area since Jeb Bush in 2002. He may even do so by a double-digit percentage.
Mr DeSantis’s move to redraw the state’s district lines to heavily favour Republican candidates has also paid national dividends: it has netted his party at least two of the five seats they need to win control of the House of Representatives.

These successes will go a long way toward providing the Florida governor with a springboard from which to launch a presidential campaign, if he so chooses.

As if to emphasise this, the crowd at Mr DeSantis’s victory rally on Tuesday night chanted “two more years” – a tacit acknowledgement that if their man decided to run for president he’d have to resign as governor halfway through his four-year term.

If Mr DeSantis wants to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, he may have to go through his state’s most prominent Republican resident – former President Donald Trump – to do so.

  1. Mixed night for Trump
    Donald Trump may not have been on the ballot papers but he has still cast a shadow over them.

Earlier in the evening, the former president made a brief speech from his Mar-a-Lago home and claimed an overwhelming victory for his endorsed candidates.
The truth, however, is more complicated. In the highest profile contests, where he backed candidates over more mainstream Republican options, his picks have struggled. Mehmet Oz lost his Senate race in Pennsylvania.
Herschel Walker appears headed for a run-off in Georgia. Blake Masters is trailing in Arizona. Only JD Vance in Ohio pulled out a clear win, albeit by a more narrow margin than the trending-conservative state would suggest.
Republicans are going to be second-guessing his political instincts after Tuesday night. And if he does launch a new bid for the presidency next week, it will be from his back foot.

4.Disappointment for Democratic stars
In 2018, Beto O’Rourke in Texas and Stacey Abrams in Georgia lost their statewide races but they won Democratic hearts with the narrowness of their defeats.

Their ability to raise millions of dollars in campaign funds and build impressive grass roots had many on the left tapping them as the future of the party.
Supporters hoped that they could climb the proverbial mountain when both ran for office in their home states again this year. Both came up short.
Ms Abrams, who narrowly lost to Republican Brian Kemp four years ago, will finish well behind him this time. Mr O’Rourke lost his race to Republican Governor Greg Abbott by a larger margin than he lost to Senator Ted Cruz. (BBC)

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