John Fetterman wins in Pennsylvania as Democrats hold back 'red wave' in midterms 2022

Democratic Party wins series of key races as fates of Senate and House of Representatives remain unclear

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Control of the US Congress remained uncertain on Wednesday morning, as Democrats won several key races, apparently holding back a so-called red wave of widespread Republican victories.

The biggest victory for Democrats on Tuesday night came in Pennsylvania, where Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman defeated Republican candidate Mehmet Oz. Mr Fetterman's win was a significant pickup for the Democratic Party, as the seat was previously in Republican hands.

“I’m so humbled,” Mr Fetterman, who suffered a stroke earlier this year, told his supporters on Wednesday morning.

“This campaign has always been about fighting for everyone who’s ever been knocked down that ever got back up.”

President Joe Biden sent a congratulatory text to Mr Fetterman after the race was called, the White House said.

With the Senate split 50-50 heading into the midterms, winning the Pennsylvania seat was crucial for Democrats' chances of retaining power in the upper chamber of Congress. Thirty-five of the 100 seats in the chamber were up for grabs.

Democrats also held on to a crucial Senate seat in New Hampshire, though Hillbilly Elegy author JD Vance won the Ohio Senate seat for Republicans.

As of Wednesday morning, Democrats were in control of 48 seats in the Senate compared to Republicans' 47. Senate results are still pending in five states.

Races in Wisconsin, Nevada, Arizona and Georgia were still too early to call.

Democrats and Republicans in tight race to control the House

Democrats also showed surprising strength in races for the House of Representatives across the country, rebuffing predictions that a “red wave” of conservative voters would sweep Republicans to power in the lower chamber.

Republicans need a net gain of five seats to win control of the 435-member House of Representatives.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, expected to become the next House speaker if Republicans win control, was optimistic that his party would win.

“When you wake up tomorrow, we will be in the majority,” he told supporters during a watch party in Washington.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted that her Democratic colleagues were performing better than expected.

“While many races remain too close to call, it is clear that House Democratic members and candidates are strongly outperforming expectations across the country,” she said in a statement.

Democrats Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton fought off Republican challenges in their respective districts in Virginia.

As of Wednesday morning, Republicans were in control of 197 seats in the House versus the Democrats' 172. Results are still pending in 66 districts.

A party must hold at least 218 seats to win power in the House of Representatives.

With the fate of Congress still uncertain, so, too, is Mr Biden's agenda. A Republican-controlled Congress would deal a significant setback to Mr Biden in his final two years in office as they could block judicial appointments, establish investigatory committees and obstruct pieces of legislation.

A Republican rout in Florida

While results were mixed elsewhere, Republican candidates claimed major victories in the US state of Florida, offering further evidence that the state is becoming increasingly conservative.

Marco Rubio handily defeated Democrat Val Demings to retain his seat in the Senate.

And Governor Ron DeSantis, who narrowly won the governorship four years ago, secured a landslide victory in his re-election bid against Democratic challenger Charlie Crist.

“We fight the woke in the legislature,” he said in his victory speech, referring to progressive Democrats' focus on social justice. “We fight the woke in the schools. We fight the woke in the corporations. We will never, ever surrender to the woke mob. Florida is where woke goes to die.”

Mr DeSantis is seen as a potential challenger to former president Donald Trump for the 2024 presidential nomination. Mr Trump on Tuesday encouraged Mr DeSantis not to run for the White House.

“I think he would be making a mistake, I think the base would not like it,” Fox News quoted Mr Trump on Monday as saying. “I don't think it would be good for the party.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Updated: November 10, 2022, 11:02 AM
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