America heads into weekend without knowing who won the midterm elections

Key Senate races in Arizona and Nevada still not called

Mark Kelly, a Democratic incumbent senator from Arizona, waves to supporters on election night. AP
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Three days after Americans voted in the midterm elections, Democrats on Friday appeared to have an edge in retaining power in the Senate and Republicans still seemed on course to take the House of Representatives.

But control of both chambers remained uncertain and it has grown increasingly probable that politicians will return to Washington next week without knowing which party will gain power.

Disappointment and finger-pointing among Republicans who had expected a wave of victories heading into the election also threatened to inflame tension between those loyal to former president Donald Trump, who has been blamed for a string of losses in high-profile races, and establishment conservatives.

To win control of the Senate, one party needs to win two out of three contests still not called: Arizona, Nevada and Georgia.

In Arizona, Democratic incumbent Mark Kelly was leading by more than 5 percentage points. In Nevada, Republican Adam Laxalt led Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto 49 per cent to 48 per cent ― but most of the uncounted ballots were from the Las Vegas area, terrain more friendly to Democrats, and the Reno area, a swing region.

The Senate race in Georgia is going to a December 6 run-off after neither Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock nor Republican challenger Herschel Walker won more than 50 per cent.

The Associated Press called five tight House races for Democrats on Thursday and Friday, declaring as winners Pat Ryan of New York, Jahana Hayes in Connecticut, Eric Sorensen in Illinois, Gabe Vasquez in New Mexico and Kim Schrier in Washington, underscoring the slender margin the Republicans would have if they take over the House.

With 218 members needed for a majority in the House, Republicans by midday on Friday had won 211 seats and Democrats 193, AP reported. Republicans would need to win seven more seats to gain a majority.

But the bulk of the uncalled races were in West Coast, Democrat-leaning states, particularly California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, where heavy use of mail-in voting slows counting.

House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy sought to project confidence, on Thursday appointing a transition team for a takeover by his party.

Some conservative House Republicans already were making rumblings about opposing Mr McCarthy’s bid to be House speaker, which only a few could deny him under a slim majority.

Florida Republican Matt Gaetz said during a Thursday video chat that Mr McCarthy “is not my first choice and even quite frankly in my top 100” to be speaker.

Agencies contributed to this report

US midterm elections 2022 — in pictures

Updated: November 11, 2022, 9:01 PM