Republicans are on the cusp of retaking control of the House, just one shy of the 218 seats the party needs to secure a majority, raising the prospect of a divided government in Washington.
Democrats have already won control of the Senate, securing 50 seats with a runoff in Georgia next month that could give President Joe Biden’s party an additional seat. The GOP came into the election needing to gain a net of just five seats for House control.
Nearly a week after the midterm elections, Republicans were closing in on the majority, giving conservatives leverage to blunt Biden’s agenda and spur a flurry of investigations. But a slim numerical advantage will pose immediate challenges for GOP leaders.
The full scope of the party’s majority may not be clear for several more days as votes in competitive races are still being counted.
Still, the party was on track to achieve 218 with seats in California and other states still too early to call.
Even barely achieving 218, though, means Republicans will likely have the narrowest majority of the 21st century. It could rival 2001, when Republicans had just a nine-seat majority, 221-212 with two independents.
That’s far short of the sweeping victory Republicans predicted going into this year’s midterm elections, when the party hoped to reset the agenda on Capitol Hill by capitalizing on economic challenges and Biden’s lagging popularity.
Instead, Democrats were able to largely blunt an expected big GOP election, holding on to moderate, suburban districts from Virginia to Minnesota and Kansas. The results could complicate House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy’s plans to become speaker as some conservative members have questioned whether to back him or have imposed conditions for their support.
The narrow margins have upended Republican politics and prompted finger-pointing about what went wrong. Some in the GOP have blamed Donald Trump for the worse-than-expected outcome. The former president, who is expected to announce a third White House bid on Tuesday, lifted candidates during this year’s primaries who struggled to win during the general election.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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First Published: Wed, November 16 2022. 00: 04 IST