A polarized America braced for a tense night of election results and legal challenges on Tuesday, as control of Congress and the future of President Joe Biden’s agenda hung in the balance.
After a campaign dominated by economic issues, a Republican victory could pave the way for Donald Trump’s White House comeback bid.
Biden, whose Democrats are fighting for control of the House and Senate, has warned that Republicans pose a grave threat to democracy, with more than half of their candidates repeating Trump’s debunked claims of election fraud in 2020.
In Arizona, which is expected to be one of the closest states, Republicans filed a lawsuit to keep polls open after problems with ballot machines in Maricopa County’s most populous county, despite officials saying no one was prevented from voting.
“I hope it’s not malice,” said Kari Lake, the Trump-backed candidate for governor. “When we win, there’s going to be a come-to-Jesus for elections in Arizona.”
In his final speech, Biden vowed that Democrats would defend pensions, health care, and the right to choose after a Trump-led Supreme Court rescinded the right to choose.
“It’s all on the ballot. This election is too important to sit out,” Biden tweeted in a last-minute bid to drive voters to the polls.
However, the president’s party has historically lost seats in midterm elections, and Biden’s favorability ratings are in the low 40s, with Republicans hitting him on persistently high inflation as well as crime.
– Trump teases new bid –
Rising Republican star Ron DeSantis won a second term as governor of Florida, according to early projections by US networks. After making a name for himself by speaking out against Covid mitigation measures and transgender rights, he is seen as one of the few who could challenge Trump for the presidency in 2024.
Trump himself went to the polls in Florida, teasing an expected announcement of a presidential run next week, telling reporters that November 15 “will be a very exciting day for a lot of people.”
– Machine trouble in Arizona –
Despite facing criminal charges for trying to steal top-secret White House documents and attempting to overturn the 2020 election, Trump has used the midterms to solidify his position as the de facto Republican leader.
On Tuesday, the 76-year-old Trump began casting doubts on the midterm elections via his Truth Social platform, citing problems with voting machines in Arizona.
“Same thing is happening with Voter Fraud as happened in 2020???”
Pelosi, the highest-ranking woman in US history when she became speaker in 2007, said the Democrats hoped to win but would accept any election result.
Election Day is “a day where the sanctity of the vote is revered, where people vote, and we have to respect the results of that,” Pelosi told the PBS Newshour.